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Over 100 Spaces Untaken In Dorm

By Marissa Vogt

The Sidney-Pacific dormitory currently has more than 100 empty beds. According to House Manager Dennis J. Collins, the dormitory, which was originally built to house 750 students, presently only has 607 residents.

The building includes 440 living units, 35 of which were originally designated as quads. Due to the undercrowding of the dormitory and student concerns for privacy, 25 of these quads are in the process of being converted into doubles.

Timing contributes to shortage

One of the main reasons that Sidney-Pacific is undercrowded may be the way in which the housing lottery was run. Students were notified of their room assignments in August, after leases for off-campus housing must be signed.

“The basic problem was that a lot of people weren’t told until such a late date in August that they had already signed a lease off-campus,” said Sidney-Pacific Housemaster Roger G. Mark ’60.

“The housing lottery process was very complicated and involved and therefore took a long time to complete. And, because it was taking a long time to finish, many graduate students who might otherwise have been interested in living in [Sidney-Pacific] found housing off campus,” said Anthony E. Gray PhD ’01, resident life associate at Sidney-Pacific.

Sidney-Pacific is not the only dorm that is housing fewer people than expected because of the timing of the housing lottery. Other graduate residences such as Ashdown House are facing similar problems.

Beds for Senior Segue stay empty

Director of Housing Karen A. Nilsson also says that a lower than expected interest in the Senior Segue program contributed to some of the beds in Sidney-Pacific remaining vacant.

“We anticipated more undergraduates taking advantage of Senior Segue and were holding some rooms for them,” Nilsson said.

Timing may have been an issue for the Senior Segue, as well, since many seniors were not made aware of the opportunity in time to give the matter proper consideration.

“They should’ve announced something like [the Senior Segue program] before spring vacation. A lot more people would’ve considered it seriously if they had had more time to think about it,” Mark said.

Dormitory community unaffected

Residents at Sidney-Pacific are convinced that the sense of community in the dormitory will not be affected by the undercrowding.

“An identity based on community takes a long time to establish, and its hard with the biggest residence on campus. I think with fewer people it might actually be a little easier,” said Sidney-Pacific resident and hall counselor Arian Shahdadi G.

“There are so many people, so much good stuff going on. The community here is excellent. We have great leaders. The big deal is the lost revenue for the graduate system,” Gray said.

Empty beds mean lost revenue

Though the community of Sidney-Pacific may be unaffected by the empty beds, there will still be lost revenues. Monthly rent in Sidney-Pacific runs between $520 and $755, and the 100 empty beds will result in a significant loss.

“This year, it is conceivable that the Institute will lose money,” Mark said, who estimates the lost funds at almost a million dollars for the year.

Money is also being lost from monthly rent that would have come from the quads that have been converted into doubles. Though the doubles are more expensive, the difference in price is not substantial enough to cover the lost funds.

“We are re-adjusting the entire budget of Sidney-Pacific,” Nilsson said.

Beds may be filled by spring

The housing lottery next year will likely be handled differently, and plans are being made for more computerization. Until then, the empty beds may be made available to visiting scholars or professors, and the goal is to fill all of the beds by the spring semester.

“We are going through the waiting list now, and our goal is to fill all of the vacancies,” Nilsson said.