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WVU Approves Plans to Update Housing and PRT

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It doesn't appear construction fences have any plans to disappear at West Virginia University.

The school is in the midst of a massive renovation to its Evansdale Campus and voted Friday on more university-wide upgrades.

The school's Board of Governors approved a plan that updates the school's on-campus housing as well as Personal Rapid Transit system.

"We need to modernize, and we need to make sure we are current and relevant to our students and others we are serving," said Interim Dean of Students Corey Farris.

Modernize is a key word when discussing WVU's newest changes. The oldest on-campus housing dates back to 1918, and many new buildings are in need a fresh overhaul.

Another way the university is modernizing is by looking at the modern students.

The school said it realizes many students now have families, and on-campus housing doesn't exist for those students, returning veterans and even faculty and staff.

"Together we have to have the best housing and as many choices for the students as we can, and then that helps the big picture," Farris said.

To service more students, WVU will build new housing and make renovations to current buildings. The school hopes to add on 1,500 beds.

"When you have aging facilities you just have to maintain, repair and update so you attract the best and the brightest students that we're trying to do at WVU, and then once there here we keep them at WVU," said Ferris.

Another renovation the board voted on is a $15 million update to the Personal Rapid Transit System. Opened in 1975, the PRT averages about 14,500 trips a day.

"We've got city buses, or Mountain Line bus system for the county and the community, but we also have the PRT and both of those are integral to moving students, quickly and efficiently, back and forth between campuses, so we have to have a system that's operating well," said Jarvis.

Phase I of the PRT work could be done as soon as fall 2013. There is no timetable set for the housing modifications.

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