College makes housing changes by converting 20 singles to doubles

francesca paris/news editor via infogram Converted doubles are smaller than the average double in residences where conversions will occur (square feet). Francesca Paris/News Editor via Infogram
Converted doubles are smaller than the average double in residences where conversions will occur (square feet). Francesca Paris/News Editor via Infogram

The Office of Student Life (OSL) will convert 20 single rooms to doubles next year in order to accommodate the greater number of students on campus for the fall semester.

In its annual analysis of the College’s upper-class bedcount, OSL determined that next year, there will be a significant decrease in the number of juniors studying away in the fall and a slight decrease in the number of seniors living off campus. Most years, more students enter the housing lottery in the fall than the spring, as more juniors choose to study away in the spring, according to Director of Student Life Doug Schiazza.

The annual analysis found that the students would fill just over 100 percent of the College’s maximum occupancy next year. Schiazza said that OSL tries to reserve three percent of the College’s maximum occupancy to allow for students who return from taking time off, incoming transfer students and other unforseen situations that arise during the academic year. Doubling the 20 singles will reduce expected occupancy to about 99 percent, or 1269 students.

“To address this, we considered doubling large current singles and utilizing some or all of the 11 beds that we hold in Dennet Ground for emergency situations,” Schiazza said. “We really would only consider the Dennett ground rooms as a very last resort, but if numbers continue to climb beyond the 20 additional beds, we’ll have to consider using those Dennet ground rooms.”

OSL staff visited some of the largest singles on campus over Spring Break and selected 20 for conversion. OSL will convert nine rooms in Dodd House, three in Fayerweather House, two in Parsons House and one each in Currier, Fitch, Garfield, Sewall, Tyler and Wood Houses into doubles.

The three largest singles on campus, Dodd 319, Parsons 204 and Tyler 302 will become doubles. Only these new doubles will be larger than the average double in their respective houses. These rooms, along with Dodd 317 and Parsons 201, are the only converted doubles larger than 200 square feet. The new doubles are 204 square feet on average, smaller than the average double size of 235 square feet in those houses, but larger than the average single size of 160 square feet across those houses. Dodd, which will undergo the most conversions, will go from housing 35 students in singles and 22 in doubles to 26 students in singles and 40 in doubles. This could make Dodd and other houses favored by seniors in last year’s lottery, including Currier, Fitch, Sewall and Wood, less desirable.

OSL expects these rooms to remain doubles in future years. OSL will consider converting other large singles to doubles for the 2016-2017 academic year if necessary. Small doubles could also be converted to singles, however, and OSL will evaluate on a year-to-year basis.

The College will add 60 beds, 40 singles and 10 doubles when construction finishes on the Stetson Court dormitory in the summer of 2016. In February, the College began preparations to demolish Harper House, which stands on the site of the planned dormitory.

The College will then, however, begin a 30-year plan to renew all student residences, beginning with the shutdown of the James A. Garfield House, which houses 42 students. The College could choose to demolish or repurpose Garfield.

In addition, Bascom House may return to student housing for the first time since 2003 after the Office of Admissions moves to Weston House next year, which would add 25 to 30 beds. Bascom, however, may serve as an office swing space before it houses students.

“Even with these 20 conversions, Williams continues to offer just over 76 percent of our upperclass bed-spaces in single rooms, a percentage most colleges and universities can only dream of.