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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Ridgewood future undecided

Published: September 15, 2006
Section: News

Ridgewood Residence Quad may survive the next round of residence hall construction, according to the Office of Capital Projects.

The shift in direction comes from an unforeseen increase in the cost construction, according to Vice President for Capital Projects Daniel Feldman. Construction costs recently have gone through the roof, he said.

As an alternative to replacing Ridgewood Quad, the administration is considering two possible locations for new residence halls. One possibility is the Admissions parking lot (previously M-lot) between Shapiro Admissions Center and Slosberg Music Hall;

the other is a part of the Theater lot (previously T-Lot).

If Ridgewood remains standing, it will be renovated, according to Feldman. This would include a substantial improvement of landscape, and a refreshing of kitchens and bathrooms, he said.

Well invest at an appropriate level to expand its useful life, said Feldman.
The proposed cost of the residence hall project is $35 million, according to Feldman. $20 million will come from new university debt, while $15 million will be sought in gifts.

Susan Krinsky, Associate Vice President for Campaign, said that no funds have yet been obtained for the new residence halls. There has been no direct fundraising to date, she said. To really engage interest, we need to show them what the project will look like.

Feldman emphasized that the single most important priority is more beds for students, and that the construction planning is far from finalized. Another of the administrations priorities is adherence to the University 2001 Master Plan, which built a conceptual framework for future construction on campus. That plan features a prominent center pedestrian spine throughout the campus;

the current path is fragmented by the admissions parking lot, according to Feldman.

The new residence hall, as first conceived, would have had approximately 200 net new beds, according to a 2005 memo by Chief Operating Officer Peter French. The administrations current goal, according to Frenchs Sept. 5 community update, is 150 net new beds. Feldman called that figure optimistic.

Frenchs Sept. 5 update mentioned the creation of a Project Advisory Committee to provide architects with ideas for the new dorm before the design phase begins. Feldman said that the committee will be composed of representatives from the offices of Students and Enrollment, Facility Services, Capital Projects, Development and Residence Life, and include several key administrators, including Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy, Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer, and Assistant Dean of Student Life Maggie Balch.

The committee will discuss what should be considered in the final design, including the kind of student rooms that should be built and whether office space, commercial areas and other common spaces should be constructed.

Senior VP for Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy and the Offices of Students & Enrollment and Residence Life have established as a high priority the creation of apartment-style housing with single bedrooms, kitchens, and shared living rooms, wrote French in his Sept. 5 community update.

Feldman said that the 56 year old Ridgewood Quad would eventually be demolished, and that any new residence halls built on Ridgewoods lot would have a different building configuration than the current quad.