Our Sustainable Future: Student Housing and Other Buildings

According to Stonehouse 2021, the College is able to sustain an enrollment of 650 students without a new residential life building. However, to provide enough beds for them, we will need to bring back online currently unused buildings, such as Gray and a few of the smaller structures.

In some years in the past, the College housed more than 650 students —but most of them had roommates. Today’s students prefer single rooms, as many have grown up with the experience of having their own room at home and expect the same in college. We also have more students who require special accommodations within a single room. Residence halls have also lost rooms due to expansion of communal areas and the addition of elevators and internal fire escapes.

We hope to restore Gray as a residence hall. Built in 1906 as a dormitory, Gray is a Cram-designed Georgian Revival brick structure that is part of the historic district. Gray was repurposed in the early 2000s to house faculty offices and small classrooms, but has not been used since 2018, since those faculty were relocated to Benedict. The building, surveyed in MCWB’s report on historical preservation, needs updated HVAC and electrical systems, water infiltration mitigation and improved ADA accessibility. If it has lead-based paint, asbestos and mold growth, they will require removal. We have hired an architectural firm to assess the scope and costs of the improvements for converting Gray for residential use. (This is being done simultaneously with the scoping study for the renovation of Pannell.)

On Faculty Row, which is also part of the Historic District, buildings #1 and #3 have been converted into apartments for faculty and staff. Previously they were student residences. Buildings #2 and #4, currently off-line, need significant rehabilitation. It may be more cost-effective per square foot to renovate them for student residential housing. In addition, Patteson House, now used for semester break housing and for COVID-19 isolation, may need to be used for full-time student residential use.

The five dormitories in the upper quad—Carson, Grammer, Manson, Randolph and Reid—are undergoing improvement, including in the rooms, halls, parlors and other common areas. Structural concerns for these buildings are discussed in MCWB’s report. All require updated HVAC and ADA accessibility.

In the long run, we would like to see Harley, formerly the Student Health Center, become the new home for admissions. Another Georgian Revival structure that is part of the historic district, Harley is arguably the most graceful of all the buildings on campus. It is not in use now, but it will provide a more welcoming and elegant future home for admissions and is close to parking. While the extensive renovation of Harley is not among the central priorities of this five-year plan, we will move ahead if a donor could be identified for this specific project.