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At the Quad and the River, It's Too Close for Comfort

Undergraduate Housing

By Brooke A. Masters

About 20 seniors and sophomores were assigned to the Yard, other students were given a suite in masters' residences or guest suites and a handful of Quincy residents were forced to find their home in a house off Kirkland Street. Nearly 50 Cabot House sophomores lived in 29 Garden St. first semester while Eliot Hall underwent renovations, and North House students were housed in the Botanic Gardens apartment building while construction was completed in Moors and Holmes. Meanwhile, the lawn was replaced by a mound of dirt which Quadlings quickly dubbed Mt. Radcliffe.

All in all, it was not a banner year for housing.

The Quad renovations and a higher than expected number of returning students left the housing office scrambling to find space for an extra 80 students when the school year began and College officials spent the year solving the housing crunch and insuring that it would not happen again.

The crowding also claimed an indirect victim as the housing office decided that incoming transfer students would no longer be guaranteed on-campus housing. In the past, transfers had been assured they could sample house life by senior year.

But as the crunch dissipated with some clever reshuffling and normal student attrition, the College began to devise solutions and the forecast is better for next year. The Quad renovations will be completed by early next fall and Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 has implemented an annex housing plan that will house 101 undergraduates in rent-subsidized apartments in Peabody Terrace, the Botanic Gardens and 8-10 Mt. Auburn St.

Under the new plan, students can sign up for partial meal contracts in the dining halls, retain their current house affiliation and will rent their apartment only for the school year. Annex housing is expected to save students money, as the rent on many of the apartments costs up to $1000 less than dormitory room fees.

"We made significant progress on the whole question of easing crowding," says Assistant Dean for the House System Thomas A. Dingman '67.

Fourteen undergraduates have signed up to move out of the residential houses, and 35 current transfer students have also been assigned annex housing, says Housing Officer Lisa M. Colvin. Twenty-three of those transfer students are affiliated with the residential houses, and if space opens up in their houses, they may be given the opportunity to move in, she says.

"I hope that this annex housing will make [transfer students] feel closer to the center of undergraduate life," Dingman says.

As some students move off-campus, Quad residents will be moving back on. Almost all of the $21.6 construction project will be finished in September, including two new dining halls for Cabot and North Houses which will share a kitchen, says Assistant Dean for Physical Resources Philip A. Parsons. "Things look all right at this point, although nobody has ever done this much construction in a summer at Harvard," he says, adding that the work will probably cost slightly more than projected.

However, some North House rooms may not be done until November, Jewett says. About 20 North House students will therefore be temporarily housed in 29 Garden St. apartments, he says, and they will be given the option of staying in the apartments through the first semester if it is inconvenient for them to move.

Currently, College officials are not planning on a repetition of last year's housing crunch Although they cannot be sure how big the undergraduate population will be until August--when students must tell the College they are taking time off--the number of returning students has dropped, Jewett says. And just in case, housing officer Lisa M. Colvin says she is still reserving 12 places in Claverly Hall which she will use for students from houses that turn out to be overcrowded next year.

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