May 25, 2012

New dorm to replace Pierce in near future, committee says

Plans to replace Pierce are in full swing as the University begins the process of creating a concrete proposal due at the end of the summer, with hopes for final approval by the Board of Trustees by the end of 2012.

A committee of administrators chaired by Executive Vice President David Greene is currently conducting feasibility studies on several potential sites to determine “what size building the site would hold, what would it mean for the number of stories, for example, or the kinds of courtyards you can create, and how you would open up to different areas,” Greene said.

The committee is currently considering a number of possible sites for the new dorm, including the property Pierce occupies now. Regardless, Greene expects Pierce to close soon after the construction for the new dorm starts, if not right when it begins. “Our expectation is that Pierce would not be a long-term solution for housing,” he said.

If all plans proceed at the absolute fastest possible speed, this means that Pierce could close before the 2013–2014 school year, but the new dorm would open in the fall of 2017 at the earliest, Greene said.

In the interim, current Pierce residents would be relocated to several possible facilities including International House, the New Graduate Residence Hall, or an apartment-style University-owned building, according to Greene.

This summer, the administration hopes to conduct “programming studies” that configure the internal layout of the new dorm and begin the design process in the autumn.

Initially, the committee had hoped to draft a proposal by the end of this quarter. However, the complexity of financing and choosing a site for a dorm—a large-scale facility—requires more exploration, according to Green.

The committee wants to hasten the process, but not too rashly. “I’d like to move quickly on all of this, but no more quickly than would be responsible for really creating a great new building,” Greene said.

The administration is also dealing with an influx of unexpected students who accepted admission to the class of 2016, and will be placing them partially in graduate housing and International House next year.