Some off-campus houses to reopen
Some of the off-campus properties that the College agreed to purchase last year may be ready to house students by the beginning of Fall Term, Director of Real Estate Paul Olsen said.
After undergoing some renovations to comply with health and safety standards, the buildings will be reopened for short-term use, yielding housing for about 30 students.
"That is less than what the buildings could previously hold, but more than what we were expecting," Olsen said in an interview Friday. When the College agreed to purchase the 15 student residences last summer, they housed approximately 100 people.
In light of the recent housing shortage, the availability of new residential space comes as good news for the College. But with 389 first year students still waiting for a housing assignment, some remain unconvinced that the added space will have an impact.
"It's extremely disturbing not to know whether or not I have housing for next year," Jennai Williams '03, a leader of the recent housing crunch protest, said. "I live in Connecticut, but for a lot of people who live far away, it might be difficult to find alternatives during the summer."
However, she did say that it was encouraging that the College was opening up new housing options, and she would accept living off-campus, depending on the condition of the property.
Although Olsen did not know exactly which properties would be available for student housing, he did note that some were in such bad condition that they could not be rented.
These properties include 5-7 Sargent Place, behind the Lodge, and a number of properties on East South Street, near the post office.
The Real Estate Office will work with the Office of Residential Life to allocate housing to students.
"We will end up having students identified to us by ORL, and housing will be assigned to them based on their priority numbers," Olsen said.
The sale of the first set of the 19 properties that the College agreed to buy will be finalized in July. The properties -- which consist of 16 buildings and three parking lots -- include the current locations of Big Green Cuts, Ramunto's Brick and Brew Pizzeria and Caf Buon Gustaio.
The long-term future of the properties still remains unclear. While some properties will be renovated, others may need to be completely destroyed, Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman indicated.
When the agreement to purchase the properties was initially announced, the College had indicated that some of the possible uses of the properties included undergraduate housing and faculty housing.