College Says New Dorm Still on Schedule for Fall 2014 Opening

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.

Artist's rendering
Artist’s rendering

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.”

Curry to Build New Dorm

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.

Artist's rendering
Artist’s rendering

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.