BY JOE LOPOPOLO // DEC. 12, 2013 //
Curry College has launched plans to build a new residence hall on campus that will house between 120 to 170 students. According to the college, the new dorm will be located next to the Student Center, on land recently purchased on Brush Hill Road.
Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in March 2014, with the ambitious goal of completion by the start of the fall 2014 semester. President Kenneth Quigley said the new residence hall will cost approximately $60 million, and funding will come from existing finances and bank loans.
This fall, the college purchased a 10-bedroom, four-bathroom home, located on nearly two acres of land at 1016 Brush Hill Road. Details of the purchase weren’t released, but the property was valued at $1.6 million, according to the real estate assessment site Zillow.com.
In announcing to the college community plans for the new dorm, Quigley said in an email that the design team is “aiming to create multi-functional spaces within the residence hall that can be utilized for traditional classroom learning, study halls for both group and individual study, tutoring sessions, and other co-curricular purposes as opportunities arise.”
According to Stephanie Alliette, the assistant director of residence life and housing at Curry, the new residence hall is much needed. For the past two years, Curry has struggled to provide on-campus housing to all students who desire it. A
total of 1,487 students—made up of transfers, incoming freshmen, and returning students, some of whom submitted late housing deposits—requested on-campus housing entering this school year. The problem, however, is that the college didn’t have enough space to accommodate everyone.
Lounges in various dorms were converted into makeshift bedrooms—for the second year in a row—and this fall the college struck a deal with the Courtyard Marriott in Stoughton, located about 10 miles from campus, to house approximately 40 additional students.
The hotel chain has experience providing long-term housing to college students. For example, Georgetown University, Marist College and Vassar College have all used a Marriott hotel at one time or another to house students.
According to Courtyard Marriott Manager Norbert Ginter, working with Curry made good business sense. He wanted to help his local community and support the school’s needs.
“I was very happy in the long run,” said Ginter. “I think it was a win-win situation for us all.”
Some students truly enjoyed the experience. Senior nursing major Brittany Fitzgerald said she “loved” living at the hotel. In addition, Curry provided students living in the hotel with a free campus parking pass and $1,000 of “Colonels cash,” which can be redeemed in the bookstore as well as at the campus cafes and the Student Center dining hall.
“The room is gorgeous, you have your own bathroom, access to a gym, pool, and hot tub, free laundry, and the RA’s here aren’t strict at all,” said Fitzgerald.
Pete Duggan, a junior criminal justice major, said he also enjoyed many aspects of the hotel, but it didn’t feel like being in college.
“It’s just that I don’t really see a lot of people,” he said. “I also don’t like that I have to spend more gas money than I planned on with the commute back and forth everyday.”
Another junior criminal justice major, Dan Martin, agreed. “Who could complain about having a Jacuzzi?” said Martin, a member of the lacrosse team. “But the thing is, I have to commute back and forth at least four times a day. Driving to campus four times a week at 6 a.m. isn’t too fun.”
Enough students felt this way that Curry took action. Ten female students staying in the hotel were moved into the 156 building on campus, and a number of males were spread around newly available spaces in 886.
If everything goes as planned regarding the new dorm, living quarters on campus won’t be nearly as cramped come next fall.