Not so ‘NEW’ College – Residential college, residential problems

The dorm landscape at New College has changed significantly in the last few decades. To be precise, the dorm landscape at New College has always been something that needs improving. Upon the school’s opening dorms were already a problem; students were housed in hotels for the first few months of the school year because construction in the dorms hadn’t finished. This school year came close to that again, with Housing reaching out to the nearby Holiday Inn to hold a block of rooms as a just-in-case.

A document from 1991 assessed the dorm situation on campus, and the struggles are familiar. The document breaks down the dorms individually, including a bed count of how many students can stay on campus. First court could house, according to the document, 80 residents: 76 in doubles, two RAs in singles, two held for Admissions showings, and three for singles (which this author finds totals 81, not 80).

The maximum occupancy for Pei, following a similar system for both second and third court, was 250 students, with income generated only by 244 students because RAs at the time had their housing costs waived.

The former Viking dorm held 28 singles, one of which was held for an RA. B-Dorm held 32 students. The total space on campus was 309 beds.

“Residential life is recognized to be an important component of the New College experience. Therefore, the College is committed to requiring first-year students to live on campus,” the report reads. “In a truly residential community, it is necessary for a critical mass of the population to live in campus. Currently, there is the capacity to house approximately 60 percent of the student enrollment.”

“As the New College enrollment increases to a projected 600 students … an additional 60 new bed spaces will be required. The following proposed facility should be available for occupancy by August 1998.”

The document goes on to list an apartment style building that will hold 60 students and promote student interaction and which considers its environmental impact. Projected costs for this apartment totaled over $1 million.

This particular project was not complete; instead, Dort and Goldstein, as well as five letter dorms, were added to the campus as Viking was removed from the list of dormitories. However, with a current capacity of roughly 98 percent, Pei loaded up with triples and B-dorm premium singles being turned into doubles, we’ve clearly reached that point again.

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