May 12, 2006

Housing releases details on new dorm

Final designs for the new residence hall and dining facility south of Burton-Judson were recently released, with construction scheduled to begin in June.

Located on East 61st Street and Ellis Avenue, the 900-bed residence hall will consist of nine houses with about 100 students per house, said Sherry Gutman, deputy dean of students for Housing, Dining, & Transportation.

The University is working with the Boston-based architecture firm Goody, Clancy & Associates, Inc. to design the dorm. The firm has previously worked with Harvard and Princeton universities on residence halls.

The dorm, to be built of limestone and glass, will be “pretty modern-looking” rather than the campus’s “traditional Gothic,” Gutman said.

The emphasis on glass will provide more sunlight, a suggestion of early focus groups. A “completely glassed-in” communal library will enable students to look out on campus, Gutman said.

The wing facing Burton-Judson will be four stories high, and the opposite wing will be four and a half stories. Reaching 14 stories high in the middle section, the dorm will be “very tall” in the tradition of the skyscraper—“the sign of Chicago architecture,” Gutman said.

The residence hall will be divided into two buildings, one with 500 beds and the other with 400, with a single entrance to both buildings. There will be resident masters for each building, as well as “very large” common rooms for hosting building events, Gutman said.

“The new dorm has a general design that mimics Burton-Judson; however, in order to accommodate a much larger student population than BJ does, the building will be much taller,” said Richard Brown, a member of the New Residence and Dining Hall Student Advisory Committee and second-year in the College.

Spanning four stories, each house will have rooms “situated around a house lounge with a study, kitchen, and small dining area,” Gutman said. The central lounge, which will be 700 square feet and two-stories high, will be accessible from all four floors of the house.

Half of the rooms will be doubles averaging close to 200 square feet, while one-third will be singles of approximately 117 square feet.

Each house will also have a small number of suites, comprised of either four single rooms or two double rooms, with a kitchen and private bath. Each floor will have communal bathrooms. In line with student requests, the building will not be symmetrical with equal-sized rooms, but will instead have rooms of varying sizes and “nooks and crannies,” Gutman said.

The University has not yet decided which students will be permitted to move into the dorm, but Gutman expects that residents of Shoreland Hall will have priority. Next, it would likely be opened up to other students based on the “principle of seniority.”

After construction, which will include a portion of the beds, begins in June, the first stage should be completed for the fall of 2008. Plans also include renovation of the Burton-Judson dining hall, which will have a “very large servery with additional seating,” Gutman said. The dining hall will be renovated to have “cooked-to-order” food stations.

The new residence hall will have a large laundry room in the basement. A small computer facility and an adjacent cafe and convenience store will be accessible to the public, Gutman said. Residents of the dorm will have access to additional computer and music rooms.

Planning for the new dorm began in the fall of 2003 with an online survey asking students to submit their preferences. Focus groups met in early 2004 and stressed the importance of making the lounge easily accessible. The New Residence and Dining Hall Student Advisory Committee formed in the fall of 2004.