100 students will live in off-campus graduate apartment complex as housing crunch continues

Housing demand for the spring is comparable to pre-pandemic spring terms, according to the Office of Residential Life.

by Daniel Modesto | 3/8/22 5:00am

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A rendering of incoming residential apartments in Lebanon by contractor Michaels Student Living. 

Source: Courtesy of Kristina Vagen

About 100 students will live in the off-campus Summit on Juniper apartment complex, connected to campus via shuttle bus, in spring term amid an ongoing housing shortage. 

Similar to fall term last year, a high demand for housing and the ongoing housing crisis has strained on-campus housing availability. An email sent to students assigned spring housing on Feb. 17, for example, noted that some house communities have no vacant rooms and that, across campus, no singles or empty rooms were left. 

However, all spring housing applicants were assigned housing, with late applicants in the process of receiving housing “as space permits,” according to an emailed statement from undergraduate housing director Rachael Class-Giguere. In addition, around 100 students will live in the apartments at Summit on Juniper, an apartment complex located around ten minutes from campus near Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

While housing demand for the spring was “not as high as for the fall [term],” Class-Giguere wrote that it was “keeping with demand” with pre-pandemic spring terms.

In a January email sent to upperclassmen, the College announced spring housing options at Summit on Juniper, which was originally intended for graduate students. The apartment options include one, two and four person apartments and offer amenities such as on-site parking and in-unit laundry facilities, according to the complex’s website. 

According to Class-Giguere, about 50% of the spring residents at the Juniper apartments will be juniors, followed by sophomores at 40% and seniors at 10%. 

Tulio Huggins ’23, who will live at the Summit on Juniper apartments, said that he chose to live there after looking for off-campus housing, noting that since he is not taking classes next term, he can’t live on campus. He emailed the Office of Residential Life, who told him that there were units available at the apartment complex.

Huggins said that he appreciated the “relative proximity” to campus, which would allow him to continue participating in his fraternity, lead Bible study and access libraries on campus. He noted that some of his friends living in the Juniper apartments have cars, which — in addition to the shuttle offered by the College — will allow him to “consistently get [on] campus” if he needs to.

In a February email sent to students with spring housing, the Office of Residential Life wrote that a shuttle between campus and the apartment complex will be running every 30 minutes, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Class-Giguere noted that the College leased two buildings at Summit on Juniper and is using one of the buildings. She added that the College did not know what demand would look like, as it knew students “both value being on campus and having privacy.”

Melyanet Espinal ’24 said that they chose to live in the Juniper apartments due to their modern amenities, noting that many dorms on campus are “pretty disgusting.” 

Espinal said that they preferred housing at the Juniper apartments over living in Epsilon Kappa Theta, their sorority, as the facility offers a space to be “more comfortable with a room to myself.”  

After the College’s announcement of spring housing options at Summit on Juniper, some students expressed concerns about the distance from campus and transportation options. According to Huggins, the distance from campus “fractures” the community.

“I honestly think one of the things a lot of people came to Dartmouth for was the community, at least in my experience,” Huggins said. “I think this small kind of campus helps create close communities, and having to live off campus fractures that community a little bit.”

Espinal noted that while Dartmouth has “an obvious housing crisis,” the Juniper apartments are a temporary measure and were originally constructed with graduate students in mind.

“This isn’t a permanent fix, especially for people who don’t have reliable transportation, or people who don’t want to live that far because of meals,” Espinal said. “So I think [the Juniper apartments are] a good thing, but that housing was meant for graduate students who are adults and probably have that kind of stability.”

Huggins said that the College and the town of Hanover should work together to build more on-campus housing, noting that some plans, such as the demolition of the Onion to construct a new residence hall, were suspended indefinitely.

“I really hope that Dartmouth does prioritize on-campus housing, but I also know that it’s really tough with a lot of Hanover laws and stuff like that,” Huggins said. “But I also do hope that Hanover sees the need for on-campus housing and allows for that construction.”

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