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Kansas City Catholic diocese proposes dorm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has proposed building a five-story dormitory geared toward Catholic students at Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, but the city has yet to approve the plan.

The 363-bed planned dormitory is estimated to cost more than $19 million and would be on the site of a former Catholic elementary school near the two universities in midtown, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/Lreeje). The dormitory is an independent project by the diocese. Both Rockhurst and UMKC have said they neither supported nor opposed the proposal.

A feasibility study prepared for Domus Communities, the developer of the project, said the residence hall would serve Catholic students at both universities but would not be limited to Catholics.

Diocese spokeswoman Rebecca Summers said it's too early to comment on the proposal because it still needs city approval.

"There are a number of moving parts with respect to the City Plan Commission," she said in a statement. "Their approval is pending. Additionally, further design review is required."

Preliminary drawings have been submitted to the City Planning Department, and the City Plan Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing June 19.

The drawings show a 135,100-square-foot building with 116 apartments, most three- and four-bedroom units. The plan calls for 127 parking spaces. Monthly rent, including utilities, would be $1,203 for a one-bedroom; $843 per person for a two-bedroom; $747 for a three-bedroom; and $651 for a four-bedroom.

The study on the project shows the proposed rents for one- and two-bedroom units at the Domus dormitory would be higher than the competition at both colleges and for neighborhood apartments. But the study said the per-person cost for a four-bedroom unit would be less.

Matt Heinrich, associate vice president for facilities and technologies at Rockhurst, said the diocese raised the possibility of using the school property for a dormitory a while ago, but the idea didn't move forward until recently. The diocese and Domus came to Rockhurst about three months ago to brief university officials about their plans. Heinrich said the college suggested the diocese reach out to neighborhood groups, but otherwise had no input.

"It is an independent project; that's the key point for us," he said. "That's why we don't oppose or support it.

UMKC spokesman John Martellaro also said that university neither supported nor opposed the dorm, which would he said be another potential housing option for students in an area with plenty of housing.

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