On Tuesday, March 24, the Long-Range Plan for Campus Housing Working Group electronically distributed a survey to the F&M student body regarding the current campus housing offerings to gauge student opinion on them. The survey, written by the group as a whole, came out of a need to renovate the residence halls and desire to know what was and was not working for students.
“Anne Dolan ’16 [Junior Class President] and Scott Onigman ’15 [Vice-President of the Diplomatic Congress] have been helping us work through where people live, why they live where they live, what they like, [and] what they don’t like,” said Jon Enos, capital projects manager and convener of the Working Group. “This really was a group effort.”
Enos explained that the survey is meant to tackle important housing issues on campus and how to keep juniors and seniors living on campus.
“One issue that has come up is bathrooms and the privacy of bathrooms,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of gender-neutral bathrooms now, so we’re going to try to build [more] of those in. And then, if we’re trying to get more juniors and seniors to live in the traditional residence halls, [adding] what features would they like to see.”
This data will be used in conjunction with the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Buildings, Grounds, and Sustainability, as the committee will be given a report of the results and a set of recommendations to take into consideration.
“We know that we have the multi-year effort to update the residence halls, so the survey is key because it will give us real data to base those decisions upon,” Enos said.
Last Summer, the Working Group started to plan a full-scale renovation of Ben Franklin South, otherwise known as Bonchek College House, and it became apparent that it would be expensive due to the fact that it would change the configuration of the rooms. Thus, the trustees asked the Working Group to act and examine where students live now, with data going back three semesters by class year. The survey will help the Working Group decide how satisfied students are with their residence halls.
“We’re hoping to find out what students want out of their housing, specifically as upperclassmen,” Dolan said. “The school recognizes that there is a need for improvement in housing, but we want to understand what students want — ideal amenities, location, etc.”
The results of the survey will be made known to the campus community; however, Enos is unsure of the exact date of its release.
“Before any long-range plans are made, we will share them with the campus; probably in the Fall,” he said.
The working group decided that the multi-year renovation project should start with Bonchek College House because of a facilities report conducted by the College about the date and the internal systems of the buildings, which stated that the Ben Franklin residence halls were most in need of renovations. The renovations will start over the Summer and finish before the Fall semester starts.
Senior Shira Kipnees is a senior staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.