BY KEVIN DIFFILY // MARCH 5, 2014 //
Housing deposits are due March 25. But some students are wondering if they’ll actually have a place to live on campus next semester.
At the beginning of the fall 2013 academic year, Curry didn’t have enough beds on campus to house each of the 1,400-plus students who applied for on-campus residence. As a result, the college housed about 40 students in a hotel in Stoughton, and another 30 students in converted common rooms in residence halls.
Because of the exponentially increasing number of students requesting on-campus housing, Curry began plans and financing for a new residence hall, to be located next to the Student Center on the recently purchased property at 1016 Brush Hill Road. The hall is supposed to open in August 2014, in time for the fall semester.
However, ground has not yet broken for the new residence hall, leaving less than six months to fully excavate, construct, plumb, inspect and ready the space.
Fran Jackson, Curry’s director of communications, said that although construction has not yet begun, the project remains on schedule.
“There’s a significant and substantive design and development phase that precedes commencement of construction with all of our projects,” she said in an email to Curriertimes.net. “In this phase, the college works in collaboration with the architects on the project, the general contractor on the project, and with other external stakeholders and on processes such as permitting, etc. That work is ongoing.”
The weather has been an issue, she added. The Northeast and Midwest have been struck with one of the most brutal winters on record, in terms of snow accumulation and bitter cold temperatures.
“With all the inclement winter weather, frozen ground, snow and ice accumulation, the elements have also not been amenable to an early construction start,” Jackson said.
In addition, Jackson made clear that this is not an unprecedented scenario.
“Past Curry College residence hall projects have broken ground and began construction in the March/April timeframe and have completed for opening at the start of the fall semester,” she said.
According to examples at colleges and universities across the country, the average length of time to build a residence hall ranges from 10 months to 24 months. Some of the variables in length of time include the size of the building, the number of rooms, energy efficiency goals, amenities and location.
The college has not made public any sort of backup plan, should there be any delays to the opening of the new dorm. In addition, students remain in the dark as to who might get to live in the new residence hall.
While Curry has made less-than-ideal housing situations work in the past, the new residence hall is an attempt to alleviate space problems for the foreseeable future. The challenge is in how much student numbers fluctuate over the course of an academic year. Although 70 students began last semester living in either the hotel or in common rooms, there are now open beds throughout campus due to transfers, dropouts, suspensions, or students choosing to no longer live at Curry. Moreover, students are no longer even living in the hotel.
Nonetheless, students are excited about the promise of a new building.
“We definitely need a new dorm because some of the freshman ones are so outdated,” said Steve Garbatini, a junior nursing major. “[The picture of] the new building looks awesome and I would live there….I just wonder if it’s actually going to be built on time since they haven’t even started construction yet.”
The college has said it does not intend to demolish or replace any existing dorms in the wake of new construction.
Andrew Marinaro, a junior communication major, said he’s confident that the college will have the new residence hall ready for the start of the fall semester. “I’m excited to see what it’s like next year,” he said. “I definitely wish they had built it a couple of years ago, though.”