Lyme Road project team hosts virtual student town hall meeting
Project team representatives discussed construction plans for a residential housing complex on Lyme Road.
Current plans for the apartment-style housing complex on Lyme Road include air conditioning, kitchens and laundry rooms.
As the College moves forward in planning a new housing development in the Lyme Road South precinct, the Lyme Road project team hosted a virtual student town hall on Feb. 10 following a community-wide meeting on Jan. 20 seeking feedback from students.
During the meeting, representatives from the project team provided additional information about the Lyme Road development, answered student questions and asked for student input on factors like possible amenities and transportation.
Two buildings in the East Wheelock Cluster — Andres Hall and Zimmerman Hall — already have permits for renovations in place since 2020, campus planning director Joanna Whitcomb said in the meeting. Andres Hall is slated to begin renovations this summer and be back in operation in fall 2023, she added.
Other upcoming projects include renovating the Choates cluster by fall 2025, the Fayerweathers by fall 2026 and Massachusetts Row by fall 2027, according to Whitcomb.
Whitcomb said in the meeting that there is a need for 300 to 400 additional beds to accommodate students while the renovations take place. Campus service vice president Josh Keniston also stressed the necessity of new developments during the meeting.
“We’ve seen that there’s just a need for housing in general, so I think we don’t really have the luxury of not building something,” Keniston said. “I think we are at a point in the process where there’s certainly an opportunity for feedback in terms of how we craft what we’re going to build.”
The apartment-style housing complex on Lyme Road will likely house upperclassmen students who are more ready for “independent living,” Whitcomb said. Keniston added that although the assignment process hasn’t been finalized, apartments will go to juniors and seniors first.
Associate dean of residential life Michael Wooten said during the meeting that the College has already seen an interested audience in independent, apartment-style housing at the Summit on Juniper complex. Keniston added that out of the first 1,000 responses to a College-wide survey on the Lyme Road Planning Project, “a couple hundred” students have already expressed interest in living there.
“Our hope is that we find a structure and that we’ve designed [the development] in such a way that we’re going to have more than enough people that want to live out there,” Keniston said.
In regards to layout, the complex will likely include four-bedroom, two-bedroom and potentially studio-style apartments, institutional projects director Mary Frailey said in the meeting. She added that current plans include a kitchen and air conditioning system in each unit, as well as a laundry room on each floor.
According to Frailey, initial responses to the College-wide survey also indicated that students were interested in amenities like a fitness center, on-site study spaces and an outdoor community space. A student poll during the town hall meeting also revealed interest in a self-serve cafe and a convenience store.
“Part of what we’re striving for with this is to introduce something that’s a little bit different, that maybe has a different set of amenities,” Keniston said. “Something that allows for a different kind of rhythm.”