By SGA Correspondent Tim Howard.
Last Monday, the Student Government Association was presented with details of the new first year residence halls to replace the dated Quad.
The presentation included a plethora of information regarding the various plans and the time tables for the completion of such a sizable project.
Here are some of the biggest changes to watch out for in the coming months.
To begin, the senators were shown multiple videos displaying a CGI mock up of the planned buildings, facilities and grounds.
Following this, there were numerous discussions about how the school intended to pay for the project and what implications this had on the residents and the UMassD community at large. So strap in because things are about to change here at UMass Dartmouth.
On November 8 2018, construction of the new facilities will begin. Rather than place the new residence halls in the same area as the Quad on campus, the UMassD leadership determined that it would be more beneficial to integrate sophomore housing with junior housing via placing the new Freshman dorms in an area that would link the two.
Due to this consideration, the new facilities will be placed in what is presently Parking Lots 7&8. Therefore, parking will be permanently altered.
The presenter, a UMassD official, made clear that there was enough parking spots in the remaining lots to accommodate commuters and staff.
Construction services will be obliged to park in the lots behind the Quad.
In order to stabilize parking and ensure that there is enough parking for all applicable persons, the UMassD Parking Enforcement will see their roles expanded in the coming weeks.
While the presenter was somewhat vague into what kind of ramp we should expect, he did make clear that more tickets will be given out and parking will be more strictly monitored/enforced.
Several senators voiced their disapproval to this plan, as it would mean more students would receive tickets which would put more people, some of whom cannot afford a parking permit in the first place, in a position where they must pay a hefty fee just to attend class.
Therefore some students may be incentivized to miss class rather than face a parking ticket.
With the parking situation under control, the process of constructing the facilities can move more rapidly. The new facilities will include four interconnected buildings that lead the new multi- floor cafeteria and lounge.
The new cafeteria will replace the current marketplace and the predominant location for students to acquire food.
With student input, the cafeteria was allegedly designed to be a much more welcoming place.
The objective of this is to give the student body, specifically residents, more common areas in which they can mingle and meet new people.
Furthermore it gives students an alternative to spending the entire day in their dorms or in the library as the second floor lounge would have areas for studying. Last but not least, there’s (as of the writing of this article) going to be a Dunkin Donuts!
The design of the grounds and the buildings is going to be purposely dissimilar from that of the rest of the school.
The presenter stated that Chancellor Johnson wanted more color and the buildings and grounds to be a much more aesthetically pleasing environment.
This was evident in the video as the buildings are unlike anything else on campus with design elements taken from both the Pine Dale/Oak Glenn buildings and the Apartments.
The color palette is also considerably different. There was very little grey, blue, or green visible in the video.
The colors were much more centered around red, orange, and brown.
To conclude the presentation, there was discussion on the current payment plan.
The construction of residence halls is to be funded privately. This will be paid for via the rate of inflation on student costs and the procurement of debt.
The dining center/common area is to be funded by the university. As it stands right now the school will not have to raise student rates to pay for these facilities.
This debt can then be paid off gradually over an unstated amount of time.
So what do you think? Do you like the idea of new residence halls?
Do you think your bill will increase even though further funding is allegedly not needed?
It will be interesting to see this unfold over the coming months and years.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that the construction of the residence halls was to be funded by the university, while the new dining area would be funded privately. The opposite is the case, the university will be funding the new dining area while the new residence halls will be funded privately.