Summit on Juniper apartments to provide undergraduate housing through next academic year
About 100 undergraduate students moved into the off-campus Summit on Juniper apartment complex this spring, noting unique amenities but minor inconveniences associated with ongoing construction.
At the start of spring term, about 100 undergraduate students moved into the Summit on Juniper apartment complex, located by Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, vice president of campus services Josh Keniston said. The complex was originally built for graduate student use next fall, but according to Keniston, undergraduate housing shortages motivated an earlier move-in.
At the end of the fall term, the College estimated that between 100 and 150 students seeking residence this spring would be denied on-campus housing, Keniston said. When one of four buildings in the Summit on Juniper complex was completed ahead of schedule, the College partnered with Michaels Student Living — Summit on Juniper’s developer — to provide additional undergraduate housing.
Keniston added that undergraduate students will have access to the finished building at the Summit on Juniper through the 2022-2023 academic year, with the final three buildings set to open by next fall. Graduate students will be given priority for the remaining apartments, followed by a “tenant waterfall” — a process in which other local residents may seek housing at the complex.
Undergraduate students chose the apartments for a variety of reasons, ranging from better living conditions to improved amenities.
“Summit on Juniper sounded a little too good to be true,” new tenant Jessica Feltrin ’23 said. “I didn’t want to be stuck with another roommate [on campus], and it would have been a very small room.”
New tenant Jeff Walbridge ’24, on the other hand, said he was drawn to Summit on Juniper’s newer facilities.
“This past fall and winter, I was in [North Massachusetts Hall] where the facilities are older and run-down, so I was looking for a nicer place to live,” he said.
The Summit on Juniper apartments offer private bathrooms and kitchens in each unit, as well as group study spaces and a community gathering space, Keniston said. Feltrin said her apartment’s kitchen includes an oven, stovetop, microwave, fridge, freezer and dishwasher — amenities that she “would never have in a dorm.” Her apartment also has its own washer and dryer, and residents have access to a 24-hour gym, she added.
According to Keniston, students can commute to and from campus on shuttle buses running from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and with modified service on weekends. Students with cars are provided free parking in the Dewey Lot on campus, Feltrin added.
Although students previously expressed concerns about the shuttles running on time, Feltrin said she has not encountered issues with transportation.
“They have [been running on time],” Feltrin wrote. “There [are] several tracking systems too to help you find the next shuttle.”
Both Feltrin and Walbridge said they usually drive to campus, with Walbridge calling the commute “practically nothing” compared to his 40-minute drive to high school. Walbridge
added that the drive is “nice” because he can stop at one of the two local Co-op Food Stores for lunch during his commute.
Despite physical amenities, some residents noted a lack of community living off campus. Walbridge said he has not attended any community events that have been organized in common spaces due to poor planning.
“These events are at really inopportune times, like on Saturday nights when I’m on campus for on nights,” he said. “I know maybe two people here… Really, the only time that I’ve seen people is in the parking lot.”
Although Feltrin said she “met a lot of random people,” she said she has not gotten to know many of the other residents.
Feltrin added that ongoing construction has further hindered the living experience at Summit on Juniper, calling parts of the complex “a little unwalkable.”
“The main entrance to my building doesn’t connect to the main path, so I have to trek down dirt to get to the main path, which is a minor inconvenience,” Feltrin said.
In addition to Summit on Juniper, Keniston said that the College had intended to address the undergraduate housing shortage with a new housing project on Lyme Road. Planning for the project has since been “paused” due to concerns from faculty about the project’s location and pushback from local residents, he added.
Keniston added that the College views Summit on Juniper as “something that could inform a re-envisioned Lyme Road project.”
“Part of the pause is to think about different ways to approach the Lyme Road project, to evaluate certain pieces more deeply,” Keniston said. “We’re looking at Summit on Juniper to figure out if there are certain types of experiences that students really value in that setting, that maybe we could make even better at Lyme Road.”
Keniston said that after 2023, no definite plans have been made to lease Summit on Juniper apartments to undergraduate students. In the meantime, both Feltrin and Walbridge said they hope to continue living in Summit on Juniper through next year.
“It really feels more like a home than a dorm,” Feltrin said.