By Victoria Gladstone
The Signal met with President Kathryn Foster on Wednesday, March 1 to discuss specific topics regarding the spring 2023 semester, including the College’s current progress made on updates to on-campus housing.
After last spring’s announcement, the entire campus community has been eagerly awaiting to see what will happen to the infamous towers. While the original plan stated we would say goodbye to the roughly 50-year-old buildings in 2024, President Kathryn Foster reported that there have been some challenges along the way that have slowed that process.
The towers, described by Foster as “structurally challenged,” have had issues “mechanically and in other ways” that have led to its inevitable downfall.
This school year, the top few floors of the towers were closed to start the weaning process of closing for good. In the future, the floors may be used again to accommodate any housing demands.
But, as of now, the towers are still being renovated and will remain open as needed until the College can supply alternative housing. This transition to new housing is just now starting.
During this semester, the College’s administration plans to put out what they call a “Request for Proposals” or pitch to private developers.
Similar to how Campus Town was built, the College will give developers a piece of land and their job is to “create the kind of housing that we think has a market for undergraduate students who chose to live on campus,” according to Foster.
“We don’t know what the results of [the request for proposals] will be,” Foster said. “We don’t know if there are developers interested in working with us right now.”
This request has not been sent out yet, and there is still much to be done before there is evidence of real change.
“Even if you have a shovel in the ground right now, it takes time to build housing,” Foster said.
Once the College takes the first step to find interested developers, the real work begins figuring out the style and size, as well as a price point that works for incoming students’ families.
Foster noted that the pricing of the newer housing is going to be substantially higher than what the current rates are for the towers or on-campus housing in general.
The plan as of recent according to Vice President of Student Affairs Sean Stallings is that the current upperclassmen housing will become the lowerclassmen dormitories and the opening of the new residence halls will be in the fall of 2026.
While no one is certain on what on-campus housing may look like in the near future, Foster made it clear the College will remain a residential campus.
“The towers are serving us until such time as we can have something that replaces the towers,” Foster said, “and the process of replacing the towers is what is going on now.”