Sites for New Undergraduate Housing to Be Discussed

The sites will be discussed at informational sessions to be held this week and next.

Proposed sites for a new 350-bed undergraduate residence hall will be discussed at informational sessions hosted by Executive Vice President Rick Mills to be held this week and next.

“Building a residence hall on Dartmouth’s campus is a complicated undertaking with a multitude of factors that must be considered,” says Mills. “We look forward to gathering input from the College community.”  

The meetings will be held in Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall on the following dates:

The same content will be covered at each meeting. Each session will be live-streamed for those members of the campus community unable to attend in person. Registration using a Dartmouth.edu email address is required for those wishing to view the sessions online. (Click on a meeting date to register for online access. Those wishing to view online must register for specific dates.)

Following the three sessions, administrators will select a preferred site and begin the design and evaluation phase of work. Progress on site selection and design and evaluation work will be presented to trustees at the board’s meeting next month.

The addition of undergraduate bed space has been under discussion for a number of years. Dartmouth’s undergraduate residence halls, with just under 3,100 beds, have been at capacity for several years, and the College hasn’t had enough beds to meet the demand at the beginning of each academic year. The lack of space has also kept the College from addressing deferred maintenance in existing residence halls, as such work requires closing a building for at least a year and there is no “swing space” in which to house students during the work.

Adding 350 new beds would provide the necessary swing space to allow older buildings to be renovated or taken down. After use as swing space, the new hall could eventually accommodate one of the house communities in Dartmouth’s house system, which begins its third year next month. 

In February, the College decided not to move forward with consideration of plans to build residence halls to accommodate 750 undergraduates, opting instead to explore development of a smaller residential project. In an April 3 email to the College community, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 wrote that senior leaders were exploring potential sites on which to build a new residence hall.

The most recent residence halls to be built, in 2006, were Fahey McLane, which houses 161 students, and the McLaughlin Cluster, with a capacity of 341. The added bed space in those buildings created swing space that allowed for the renovation of Hitchcock Hall and New Hampshire Hall in 2008-09. About half of the undergraduate housing on campus has not been renovated in more than 15 years.

Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at  [email protected].