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Admin. announces newest housing plan

By Graham Dobereiner

Section: News

October 20, 2006

The administration announced Oct. 13 that Ridgewood Quad would likely be destroyed in spring 2007 to make space for two to three new residence halls.

Also proposed are a new dining establishment situated in the Village Quad and the destruction of Ziv Commons to create green space. The total for the residence hall project is expected to be within $35 million, and the new dorm would be completed by January 2009.

The announcement was made at a Friday press conference by Executive Vice President Peter French, Senior Vice President of Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy, Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer, and Vice President for Capital Projects Daniel Feldman.

The new residence quads will contain apartments equipped with kitchens and single bedrooms, according to Feldman. Though this housing has a high cost, Feldman said that this type of residence hall is what students are looking for, and is therefore an administration priority.

The decision to create a new dining area in a now-vacant Village space was influenced by a programming study done in 2005 by Biddison Hier, a consulting firm. According to Feldman, a late night dining opportunity was very important to students.

The nature of the new dining option is unsettled, with several possibilities being considered, according to Sawyer. The new dining area could be a convenience store, or a restaurant, which could be run by Aramark. Regarding a student-run facility, French said they would have to look at the economics.

Due to the drop in total beds on-campus during the new residence hall construction, administrators are considering other housing options. Sawyer suggested that beds in the Charles River Apartments could be recovered from the graduate school, which currently houses students there. Another option, according to Eddy, is to assist students in finding off-campus housing opportunities.

The Hoot previously reported that the administration was considering renovating Ridgewood instead of replacing it (Ridgewood future undecided, Sept. 15). However, the administration is ruling out that possibility, partially due to the $5-8 million cost of renovation, and because of to the quads remaining useful life, estimated at five years. To keep Ridgewood would be a compromise of our long term goals, Feldman said Friday.

The renovation of older residence halls will continue, according to French. Currently Renfield Hall in Massell Quad is being renovated;

French said that Deroy Hall would be next. French also indicated that the Charles River Apartments will also be renovated in the future.

As for next steps towards construction, an advisory committee for the project, made up of staff from several university departments, will meet this month to discuss the construction.

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