Three of the University’s oldest residence halls may be combined into one new residence hall, a University administrator confirmed last week.
Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said on Monday that one part of the University’s 20-year campus plan includes prospective plans to combine the Schenley, Crawford and West End residence halls into one larger hall.
The University will spend $300,000 on a feasibility study to “determine various options for replacing and/or renovating these halls in the future,” Alicia O’Neil, senior associate vice president for operations, said in an e-mail. “The feasibility study will give us a comprehensive look at an array of options for the future of these buildings.”
O’Neil added, however, that it was too early to know exactly how many students the new residence hall would house or what amenities it would offer.
The Office of Sustainability is working on the feasibility study to ensure the most environmentally friendly method of construction and renovation is used for the residence halls.
Meghan Chapple-Brown, the office’s director, said the ultimate goal would be for the redesign of the three buildings to be LEED certified, meaning they would meet the United States Green Building Council’s guidelines for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and would be officially considered environmentally friendly buildings.
“We will be working closely with the Office of Facilities, Planning and Environmental Management, and the architects and engineers to determine the most sustainable path for this project,” Chapple-Brown said.
Ultimately, all of the renovations are going to be more sustainable, she said, though she noted that it was “too early to determine” exactly what environmental efforts would be put into effect.
Some students interviewed said they like the size of the three older residence halls, and said if they were combined they would lose their quiet atmosphere.
“These buildings are quieter and less hectic and overwhelming, and this atmosphere is more appropriate for upperclassmen,” said sophomore Katherine Susman, who lives in Schenley.
Freshman Quinette Jefferies, a Crawford resident, said she liked the character of her older residence hall.
“I like Crawford. It’s small and quiet. If they combine [these residence halls], it could turn into another Thurston,” Jefferies said. “People who want to live in Crawford don’t want something like Thurston.”
Others, though, said they would welcome upgrades to the aging residence halls.
Sophomore Julie Campbell, a West End resident, said combining the dorms could be a good idea, if done correctly. “I think it would create a very different atmosphere, but as long as it was green and more environmentally friendly, I would totally [support the project],” Campbell said. “I think the whole block should be a dorm, I think that would be awesome.”