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Univ. hopes to help overcrowding with renovations but has no solid plans

By Alex Self

Section: News

September 18, 2009

Crowds: After the welcoming of an unusually large, 788 student, first-year class Brandeis University has had difficulty providing adequete dining accommodations. Coupled with a fear that, by 2013, University dorms might not be able to house sufficient numbers of students Brandeis has begun considerations for campus-wide renovations, despite a tight budget.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Robert Hammer/The Hoot</i>

Crowds: After the welcoming of an unusually large, 788 student, first-year class Brandeis University has had difficulty providing adequete dining accommodations. Coupled with a fear that, by 2013, University dorms might not be able to house sufficient numbers of students Brandeis has begun considerations for campus-wide renovations, despite a tight budget.
PHOTO BY Robert Hammer/The Hoot

The addition of 122 more students on campus than last year has lead to long lines at Usdan and Einstein’s and fewer empty rooms on campus.

In light of this, Brandeis administrators are looking for ways to alleviate overcrowding on campus.

Vice President for Campus Operations Mark Collins said the university plans to renovate service facilities in order to ensure that the number of beds and dining halls meets demand.

Collins acknowledged one of the more troubling obstacles students face this year is the long lines in the dining halls, which could ensnare students who have a short time between classes.

“As people’s schedules formulate…there are always peak periods in the dining hall. Once people’s schedules are finalized, it should even out a bit,” Collins said, “But we are thinking of adding a new lunch option to meet the demand.”

Collins would not provide any specifics about the new lunch option because it is still in the planning stages, but he said it should be implemented by next year.

As for the university’s housing, Brandeis is continuing with its plans to renovate residence halls throughout the campus.

So far, five of the eight freshman dorms have been refurbished and Collins said the university is looking to complete the remaining three in the next few years.

The university is also looking into renovating the Charles River housing complex in order to make it more competitive with on campus housing. Collins said Charles River has the most pressing need for renovation, but did not provide any specifics.

Collins said Brandeis also hopes to renovate a building in Ziv Quad; however, he did not mention any concrete plans.

Off-campus housing is readily available for now, Collins said, and the university already provides services for students looking for off-campus housing, including a free guide for interested students.

The university hopes to have 400 aditional students on campus by 2014, and as more students are admitted to the university, Collins cautioned “no one knows what will happen two or three years down the road” as far as the availability of off-campus housing.

Collins said the university hopes to increase services as a whole and that it is exploring the best way to meet the new needs. Options include increasing the amount of triples, adding to health services, doing more frequent bathroom cleanings, and exploring new lunching options.

“It’s a challenge, but we’re committed to solving it,” Collins said.

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