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Decision on Future of Senior House Expected by End of IAP

By Jeremy Hylton

The administration will try to make a decision about who will live in Senior House after it is renovated by the end of Independent Activities Period, President Charles M. Vest said yesterday.

"We feel some urgency to arrive at a use plan in the next few months so that the design, especially the room layout, matches the function," Vest said. "Simply put, most graduate housing is dominated by single-occupancy rooms, and most undergraduate housing is dominated by multiple-occupancy rooms."

The administration intends to finish the renovations and have the dormitory ready for occupancy by the fall of 1996, according to Arthur C. Smith, dean for undergraduate education and student affairs.

The intent to wait until the end of IAP was welcomed by some Senior House residents. Rebecca F. Richkus '97, a member of the recently formed Senior House/East Campus Action Committee, said it would give that committee more time to prepare a presentation on why Senior House should remain undergraduate housing.

"We do need more time. If [Vest] is going to be waiting, that would be much to our benefit," Richkus said. "We were worried that he would make the decision sooner."

Other students had hoped the decision would not be made until sometime in the spring term. "We want the decision delayed at least until around February; otherwise there is no time," said John S. Hollywood '96, chair of the Undergraduate Association Committee on Student Life.

Hollywood is preparing a survey on student life that will be distributed during the first week of the spring semester.

Despite the delay of a final decision until IAP, some students felt they should have been informed of the impending decision earlier. "I think we all would have liked to have known from the beginning," Richkus said.

The administration began reviewing plans for Senior House and whether it should be used for undergraduate or graduate housing just after Residence and Orientation Week, Smith said.

"I think we would be less rushed right now and balancing all of our classes with all of this is a pretty tough thing to do," Richkus said.

Report expected Nov. 30

The Strategic Housing Planning Committee hopes to deliver a preliminary report on the renovation and future status of Senior House to the senior officers of the Institute by Nov. 30, Smith said. The report will outline different options available to the administration.

However, it remains to be seen if the report will be ready by Nov. 30. "We'll have some trouble making that deadline. We'll do our best," said Robert M. Randolph, senior associate dean for undergraduate education and student affairs and chair of the SHPC.

A final decision about the future use of Senior House will made by Vest, Smith, Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56, and Provost Mark S. Wrighton, Smith said.

Vest said that students should make their concerns known to the SHPC. "This committee will see that Art Smith and others are informed of concerns and ideas," he said.

The committee has sought input from many student groups. "We're pretty much aware of what student concerns are," Randolph said.

Smith and Randolph have talked to many students about options being considered. "I'm going to be meeting with a range of students from Senior House," Randolph said.

Hollywood met with the housing committee for over an hour yesterday, discussing the UA report on housing and R/O and student opinion on housing issues.

Randolph said that students could be most effective by meeting with individual members of the committee, who could then pass information along to the entire committee.

The members of the committee are: Randolph; Stephen D. Immerman, director of special services; Robert K. Kaynor, associate director of planning; Lawrence E. Maguire, director of housing and food services; Susan R. Personette, senior architect for Physical Plant; Phillip J. Walsh, director of the Campus Activities Complex; and Margaret A. Jablonski, associate dean for residence and campus activities.