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Crowding Continues, But Space Available

By Eric Richard
Associate News Editor

Although the number of freshmen accepting independent living group bids exceeded projected levels, the dormitory system was forced to a higher crowding level than expected. And while there are many MacGregor House lounges and some crowded Baker House quadruples housing five freshmen, several dormitories report spaces which still need to be filled.

There are currently between 195 and 200 crowded rooms in the undergraduate dormitory system, well below the 230 crowded rooms last year, according to Andrew M. Eisenmann '75, assistant dean for residence and campus activities. The housing office had to compromise its initial limit of 165 crowded rooms in order to house all of the incoming students.

The number of crowded rooms include 15 MacGregor lounges which were converted into freshmen double rooms, according to Linda D'Anna, an administrative assistant in the housing office. Also, six of the 10 crowdable quadruple rooms in Baker House have been crowded, and now house five students each, according to Lisa Cohen '94, Baker room assignments chair.

"It's nicer to not have to crowd," said Arthur C. Smith, dean for undergraduate education and student affairs. "But given the number of students, we found as good a solution as possible."

Good rush, Huntington rooms help

Smith attributed the decrease in the number of crowded rooms this year both to a good ILG rush and new rooms available at Huntington Hall. MIT is leasing about 70 rooms at Huntington Hall from the Massachusetts College of Art for a one-year trial period. The Institute had looked into additional housing possibilities last spring as part of the effort to reduce crowding on campus.

While residence and campus activities office initially expected about 365 freshmen to pledge ILGs and live off-campus, Smith said that 380 freshmen have already pledged. In addition, 10 freshmen Alpha Phi pledges be living at the AP house, which previously did not house freshmen, he said.

According to D'Anna, 57 students are housed in Huntington, and there are still 12 openings which have not been filled. Smith said he was pleased that no one was forced to live at Huntington. He added that he expects Huntington to eventually be filled to capacity.

Despite the current crowding level, at least two dormitories reported openings last night. Senior House has 12 available spaces, according to Todd O. Dampier '94, Senior House room assignment chair.

John M. Dykes '96, room assignment chair for New House 5, said there are also two open doubles in the house, and none of the five crowdable doubles have been crowded.

"I think [the housing office is] going to be slowly migrating students here," Dampier said. "My suspicion is eventually the spaces will be filled, but they have relaxed the pace to fill every space in the system."

Future housing investigated

"There has been a lot of discussion about the next step [to create more housing]," said Smith. Currently there are plans to renovate Building W2, the current location of the chaplaincy, as an annex to McCormick Hall. This would provide 30 more spaces, which should be available by next September, he said.

The Institute has also seriously discussed the possibility of building another dormitory, Smith said. "There are a lot of good reasons for a new building. ... A firm decision will be made before Christmas," Smith said. The Corporation may discuss this issue in an upcoming meeting, he said.

In addition, a new committee has been formed to look into models for determining the size of a freshman class and its corresponding housing needs, Smith said.

"If we keep admitting at the rate we did this year, we are going to continue overcrowding," Smith said. The Institute needs to either "find more beds or cut down on the number of admissions substantially."