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Summer Renovations Will Close Senior House

By David D. Hsu
Associate News Editor

As the beginning of summer approaches, planning continues for renovations at Senior House. Recently students chose a general contractor, but they have not decided on any designs.

In a meeting yesterday, residents discussed the size and design of bathrooms and kitchens. Some were concerned with the privacy and convenience available in the preliminary designs.

Senior House will be closed this summer to make way for renovations, which will include asbestos tile removal, electrical work, and plumbing work, according to Jagruti S. Patel '97, who is on the committee discussing the changes.

These renovations are part of a $9-12 million project announced last fall. Residents, administrators, and contractors have been meeting weekly to plan the renovations.

"We've decided nobody will live here this summer," said Rebecca F. Richkus '97, another committee member. The contractors are "trying to get some work done."

Must be ready for R/O

One constraint is that the dormitory must be "presentable and livable by mid-August" in time for Residence and Orientation Week, Patel said.

Senior House residents recently chose Shawmut as the general design contractor, and Ondras Associates Architects Inc., headed by Martha E. Ondras '74, as the architectural firm, Patel said.

The firm has already set up an office in the dormitory's basement, said Senior House President Samuel L. Johnson '96

Residents have seen preliminary drawings which have allotted space for about 150 beds. However, we're "still a year away before actual construction starts," Johnson said.

"We're in the rough schematic stage," said Stephen D. Immerman, director of special services. Students are considering factors such as the size and location of rooms, he said.

"Basically, they just ask a lot of questions, and we tell them how we want it to be," Richkus said.

Along with residents' input, constraints such as building size, building codes, and the budget must be considered, Immerman said.

The dormitory will undergo "major structural changes," Richkus said.

However, residents have worked to "preserve the entry structure," Patel said.

Administrators working with the students include Immerman, Associate Dean of Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski, and a representative from Physical Plant. Immerman characterizes their role as one of "facilitating the process of moving the renovation forward."

The administrators must ensure that Senior House's room specifications are consistent with other dormitories, Richkus said.

Some call timetable ambitious

The main work will be completed in the summer of 1996, Patel said.

"By the end of [this] summer, we will have finished the lion's share of the design," Immerman said.

Next summer involves "completely gutting the building and renovating it in a very fast-paced, ambitious, time-sensitive way," Immerman said.

Some students are skeptical of the timetable set for renovations. "A lot of people don't think it'll get done in one summer," Johnson said.

Immerman remains "concerned and attentive" about the deadline. "With our experience with Shawmut, they'll do whatever to get it done on time," he said.

Overall, residents have been reacting well to the proposed changes, Richkus said. "In general, people who do care feel everything's working out well," she said. "It's incredible to have input on what our building will look like."

"It will make Senior House a better place to live in the future," Patel said.