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Antioch College Aims To Build Sustainable Village On Campus

Antioch College Aims To Build Sustainable Village On Campus
Image courtesty of Antioch College
Antioch College is holding a five-day "charrette" to gather input on the planning of Antioch College Village.

This weekend Antioch College kicks off a community input process for a housing project that would be located on the college campus.

Housing, and especially affordable housing, is a big issue in Yellow Springs—where housing prices never tanked the way they did regionally, and both rentals and purchases run high.

"There’s definitely a significant need in Yellow Springs," said Emily Seibel, director of Yellow Springs Home Inc., an affordable housing organization. She says 500 households out of a total of 1700 in Yellow Springs alone are paying 30 percent or more of their income towards housing; in the immediate surrounding area including Xenia, there are over 2,000 homes considered in need of a more affordable option.

As part of its rebuilding effort, the college is hoping to address Yellow Springs' housing needs and its own fiscal needs at the same time, through the construction of 160 housing units located on campus but open to the community for rent or purchase. The Antioch College Village would likely be a mix of market-rate and affordable housing.

“What we’re trying to do is insure the continuity, the sustainability of the college in both a financial and an ecological sense,” said Andi Adkins, VP of finance and facilities at Antioch College.The project would be a big up-front investment, but she says an initial feasibility study has suggested it would pay off by turning into a consistent revenue stream in the future.

Adkins says these won’t just be any houses: the connected units will be virtually off-the-grid, with their own solar energy and water filtration systems, aiming for what’s called a “living building” model. Residents might be retirees or Antioch alums, but the plan is to include family housing too.

This coming Sunday kicks off a five-day event known as a charrette, in which the college will take feedback from the larger community about the design of the Antioch College Village. A consultant with experience in green housing is leading the charrette, and part of the goal is to assess the demand for both rental and for-purchase housing, as well as shape the balance between affordable and market-rate housing. Details on the charrette events are here.

WYSO Public Radio is licensed to Antioch College, but has no role in the Antioch College Village planning at this time. Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.