The Lyme Road Project Team Hosts a Virtual Town Hall for Students

Project team representatives discussed plans for a residential complex on Lyme Road.

by Parker O’Hara | 57 minutes ago

Current plans for the apartment-style housing complex on Lyme Road include air conditioning, kitchens and laundry rooms.

As the College moves forward with planning a new housing estate At the Lyme Road South compound, the Lyme Road Project team held a virtual student town hall on February 10 following a community-wide meeting on January 20 to solicit student feedback.

During the meeting, representatives from the project team provided additional information about the Lyme Road development, answered student questions, and sought student input on factors such as possible amenities and the transport.

Two buildings in the East Wheelock Cluster — Andres Hall and Zimmerman Hall — already have renovation permits in place since 2020, campus planning director Joanna Whitcomb told the meeting. Andres Hall is expected to begin renovations this summer and resume operations in fall 2023, she added.

Other upcoming projects include the renovation of the Choates cluster by fall 2025, the Fayerweathers by fall 2026 and Massachusetts Row by fall 2027, according to Whitcomb.

Whitcomb told the meeting that there was a need for 300 to 400 additional beds to accommodate students during the renovations. Vice President of Campus Service Josh Keniston also stressed the need for new developments at the meeting.

“We’ve seen that there’s just a need for housing in general, so I think we don’t really have the luxury of not building something,” Keniston said. “I think we’re at a point in the process where there’s definitely an opportunity for feedback on how we design what we’re going to build.”

The apartment-style housing complex on Lyme Road will likely house upper-class students who are more ready for “independent living”, Whitcomb said. Keniston added that although the allocation process has not been finalized, the apartments will go to juniors and seniors first.

The Associate Dean of Residential Life, Michael Wooten, told the meeting that the College had already seen an audience interested in apartment-style self-contained accommodation at the Summit on the Juniper Complex. Keniston added that of the first 1,000 responses to a College-wide survey of the Lyme Road Planning Project, “a few hundred” students have already expressed an interest in living there.

“Our hope is that we find a structure and that we have designed [the development] in such a way that we’re going to have more than enough people wanting to live there,” Keniston said.

As for the layout, the complex will likely include four-bedroom, two-bedroom and potentially studio-style apartments, Mary Frailey, director of institutional projects, said at the meeting. She added that current plans include a kitchen and air conditioning system in each unit, as well as a laundry room on each floor.

According to Frailey, early responses to the College-wide survey also indicated that students were interested in amenities like a fitness center, on-site study spaces and outdoor community space. A survey of students at the public meeting also revealed interest in a self-service café and a convenience store.

“Part of what we’re looking for with this is to introduce something that’s a little bit different, maybe has a different set of gear,” Keniston said. “Something that allows for a different kind of rhythm.”

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