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Suite-Style Housing in Dana and Hughes to be Offered to First-Years

Degen Larkin, Contributing Writer

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The 2017-2018 school year will see a shift in the placement of first-years and upperclassmen as Dana, Hughes, and Johnson-Sanford Center (JSC) play housing musical chairs.

A new housing initiative spearheaded by Director of Residential Life and Housing Adam Keyes will disperse some of the class of 2021 to doubles, singles, and suites in Dana and Hughes, and will limit JSC to upperclassmen. This marks a novel opportunity for first-years to partake in suite-style living. Like the current housing plan for JSC, Dana and Hughes will host some transfer students and upperclassmen in the remaining suites, doubles, and singles.

JSC will be remodeled with suites to allow more housing options for upperclassmen, as the hall is currently restricted to doubles and singles. Keyes assures that the cost for renovation should be minimal, as the rooms targeted for conversion are already clustered together around a common area and bathroom.

“The only cost is putting the suite doors back into JSC,” said Keyes. “You know that it used to be a suite because you walk to a doorway that just doesn’t have a door to it.”

This tinkering in Clark’s housing is motivated by several potential benefits.

The addition of suites to the first-year housing family “will actually be an opportunity to venture into gender neutral housing,” said Keyes. “It gives an opportunity for first-year students to say that they want to share a space with someone of the opposite gender, maybe not in a specific room, but in a suite with a semi-private bathroom and a semi-private common area.”

Upperclassmen bunking in JSC will reap the rewards of a hall with fresher renovations. JSC features larger common areas, more study rooms, and better technology than those of the more antiquated Dana and Hughes residence halls.

“The good thing is that sophomores will no longer feel abandoned,” said Precious Oyem (‘17), a three-time JSC Resident Advisor (RA). “Sophomores move to Dana and Hughes, which is not as bright and colorful as JSC, and so they feel abandoned. This will help change that. I definitely see the idea behind it.”

“It feels like a more natural progression,” Keyes said. “To be brutally honest, you’ve got Blackstone, Maywood—JSC is closer in terms of what the amenities are in the building for upperclassmen students.”

Keyes’ own research on the initiative’s footing in the pool of public opinion has yielded an overwhelmingly positive response with the RAs, students, office workers, professional staff, and athletes he has spoken with.

“Most people like the idea,” said Keyes.

“I think it’s an upgrade,” said transfer student and current resident of JSC, Megan McIntyre (‘20). “A lot of people are really excited because they’ve had the best times in JSC.”

However, the housing switch-up draws some doubts. Keyes himself attests to the questions “that have been floating out there about the common space” in Dana and Hughes.

Just as JSC provides upgraded common areas for upperclassmen, first-years may in turn experience a dip in ample lounge space.

“We’ve got to work on renovating some space over there in the next couple of years,” Keyes said.

Oyem furthered this statement, insisting that “there will be changes to Dana and Hughes so that it will be more conducive to freshmen – changes to the beauty so that it is more freshman-ish.”

Nevertheless, Keyes believes that the shift in housing will be “seamless.”

“I think we’re too small for it to be a conflict,” he said. “It’s six in one hand, half a dozen in another.”

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