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Housing Report Sent to Vest; Open House a 'Success'

By Daniel C. Stevenson
News Editor

The Strategic Housing Planning Committee has finished its work regarding the renovations and future of Senior House and has submitted a final report to President Charles M. Vest, according to SHPC Chair Robert M. Randolph, senior associate dean for undergraduate education and student affairs.

To communicate their concerns about the committee's work and show the administration what Senior House is like, Senior House residents organized an open house Monday night. Over 25 administrators and faculty attended the open house, according to organizer and Senior House-East Campus Action Committee Co-Chair Rebecca F. Richkus '97.

The report will not be made public until after Vest has reviewed it, Randolph said. "I know it's Dean [for UESA Arthur C.] Smith's intention to see that the community gets [the report] as soon as possible," Randolph said.

Smith, who directed the committee earlier this fall to look "very seriously at the idea of having all undergraduates live on west campus," has already reviewed the 10-15 page report, Randolph said. Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56, who gave the committee its charge, has also seen the report.

"What the report is trying to do is pull together the foundations of what the president, provost, and others need to know to make an informed decision about what we need to do about Senior House," Randolph said.

The report addressed such issues as undergraduate crowding, residential space development, and graduate student housing needs, Randolph said. The committee made some recommendations in the report, but they were "recommendations hedged about with conditions," he said.

Student opinion was considered while writing the committee's report, Randolph said. "We've talked with a lot of students" about the issues addressed in the report, he said. "We have heard the concern for community, we have heard the concern for individuality and uniqueness."

Open house a complete success'

Residents of Senior House "felt the open house was a complete success," Richkus said. Visitors were given tours of the house and shown different rooms and suites, as well as kitchens and other facilities, she said.

"Many of the higher-ups at the Institute had not been to Senior House in a long time, and were formulating opinions based on memory and the opinions of others," Richkus said. "We felt they should have a chance to see both the house and the people who live here."

The residents "also let them know what we love about the house and what we think could be improved," Richkus said.

"I was just impressed by the sense of community" displayed during the open house, Randolph said. "One of the good things that's come out of this conversation has been the awareness of how strong community is in Senior House," he said.

Along with Randolph, SHPC members at the open house were: Director of Special Services Stephen D. Immerman, Director of Housing and Food Services Lawrence E. Maguire, Director of the Campus Activities Complex Phillip J. Walsh, and Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski.

Smith, Dickson, Professor of Physics Robert A. Jaffe, who is chair of the faculty, Dean for Student Academic Affairs Travis Merritt, and Assistant Dean for RCA Andrew M. Eisenmann '70 also attended the open house.

"The reaction we received was completely positive," Richkus said. "I've heard many compliments about how nice the house looked and how organized we were," she said. "A few of the people who came through even expressed the hope that everything works out well for us."

The residents and the administrators were able to talk openly to one another at the open house, Richkus said. "It's this communication that we hope to continue throughout the decision making process."