After receiving permission from the Board of Trustees, the College has begun planning an extensive study on campus housing. The study will assess the condition of facilities, use input from the campus community to open discussions about residential life and analyze the social climate of residential life.
“We did an external review of the Office of Residential Life in the spring where two folks came in from other similar colleges and submitted a report that focused on the structure of the office,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Bonham ’92. “That was the first step in creating a housing study.”
Bonham stressed the need to give attention to the campus’s residence halls. However, she admitted that there are current projects that have prevented them from devoting more focus.
“We have to get through the West Quad project in particular before we can get started on the residence halls,” Bonham said. “We want to do a lot of planning so that it’s not just about renovating them but also considering programmatic issues and making sure that we are thinking futuristically about needs in the years ahead.”
Bonham also said that, in addition to the obstacles presented by current projects, the expenses and practicality of such a large project would make it an ambitious effort. The study itself is still in an early stage, as the College begins searching for a firm to conduct it.
One of the major concerns that members of the administration discussed was the issue of providing adequate housing for students during these potential renovations.
“We will have to actually build new residence halls in order to do renovations,” President Sean Decatur said. “Right now we are at capacity with beds around campus. If we were to do something like renovate one of the dorms or take down the New Apartments, all of which I think would be desirable in some way, [there would be] no place to actually put the people.”
It is expected to be multiple years before any changes are enacted.
“This is a big project.” Decatur said. “I imagine it’s going to stretch [from] at least a year and a half to two years.”
The administration plans to release more details about the project once it has advanced beyond the preliminary stages.