By Olivia Nicoletti
Rider’s Princeton campus, previously housed by the Westminster Choir College (WCC), has new plans to occupy its parking lots.
In a council meeting on Jan. 10, an ordinance was introduced by The Princeton Council that allows for business employees to park in a WCC lot with a permit, according to a Jan. 18 Central Jersey press release.
On Nov. 8, the agreement was made official by Princeton’s mayor and council, according to Kristine Brown, associate vice president for university marketing and communication at Rider.
Brown confirmed that the township will pay Rider $2,000 per month for use of the space.
“We regularly receive inquiries and consider them on their merits, including whether they might conflict with our needs,” Brown said. “We currently have a small number of agreements with non-profit community music organizations for use of some of our spaces, but no other agreements at this time.”
In 2020, Rider moved WCC to its Lawrenceville campus with the intention of selling the Princeton campus. However, students and alumni fighting the relocation of the choir college have prevented Rider from selling the property while their lawsuits play out in court. For now, the Princeton campus is still used by the Westminster Conservatory of Music — a branch of WCC that teaches young community students.
Due to the relocation of WCC students, there was speculation that the leasing of the parking lot would create a rift.
Bella Nakum, a sophomore music major, understands the reasoning behind leasing the lots.
“To be fair, Rider originally announced that Westminster was gonna have to switch over campuses, it was a money thing. For a while, I think us as students were a little confused … it felt kind of like a slap in the face to a lot of us because at the time that they were still gonna hire people to work there. So now, they’re making money off of the parking lot and that kind of makes sense to me,” Nakum said. “I think I feel like we’re annoyed by it, obviously, it is another slap in the face – but I think logistically, this is kind of the first thing since the actual move that made sense. This actually lines up with their original statements.”
The agreement, as of now, will run until Aug. 31 of 2022, according to Brown.
“The municipality has a need for additional parking and asked us if we might help,” Brown said. “Our parking is not being fully utilized, so we are happy to help the town.”