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Thursday, September 28, 2023 — Houston, TX

H&D seeks to add more beds

By Andrew Ta     9/27/12 7:00pm


The administration is seeking to increase the percentage of undergraduates living on campus to 80 percent, according to Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson. Currently, 75 percent of undergraduates live in college-owned, college-operated or college-affiliated housing at Rice, according to U.S. News and World Report. With 3,755 undergraduate students currently enrolled, this 5 percent increase requires 190 students to come on campus. 

Hutchinson said no decisions or recommendations have been made. According to Hutchinson, President David Leebron requested a study of housing on campus and hired consultants to explore feasible options. 

"The Dean's office, Housing and Dining, and Facilities Engineering and Planning are in the process of exploring the options for housing 80 percent of our students on campus," Hutchinson said. "Some of these options were rejected as non-starters. Some were kept for further consideration and for cost analysis. No decisions have been made."

Hutchinson said there was no timetable for action and that the process was still in an exploratory period. 

Jones College Redesign Committee Head Joe Eletto said he believed Jones will be the first to receive additional beds but that the initiative will spread throughout campus by renovation priority. 

"We were contacted [by H&D] last year. They told us to form a committee of representatives, so we selected the people ourselves," Eletto, Jones' Vice President, said. "Our president at Jones selected a few people he thought would provide the most diverse feedback possible, including two architecture majors."

Eletto said that according to the current plans from H&D, Jones is expecting 20 new beds, but also that Jones was on the smaller size of the expansion project. 


 "I believe small colleges like Hanszen [College] are going to receive a sizable addition," Eletto said. "The intention of this expansion is to increase the amount of people able to live on campus, not the amount of people enrolled at Rice as a whole. I do think there will be a slight increase in enrollment at smaller colleges, but the larger ones should stay about the same."

Eletto said that, according to H&D, six new doubles and eight new singles would be split evenly between the north and south wings of Jones. 

"These rooms would be placed in the existing library spaces in North and South and would include one floor restroom facility and no common area," Eletto said. "The agreement includes a stipulation that any space taken by H&D will be replaced somehow within the college."

Will Rice College President Brynnan Webster and Hanszen College Facilities Director Priyanka Duvvuru said their colleges have had some preliminary discussions about adding beds, but no decisions have been made. Lovett College and Duncan College have not been contacted by H&D according to their development committee representatives, Vikram Parolkar and Hannah Willey, both juniors. 

Brown College junior and Permanent Improvements Committee Head Salvatore Testa said H&D has talked to them about adding additional beds to Brown since the end of August. 

"[H&D] asked us to form a committee and [has] been in constant discussion with us," Testa said. "Ultimately though, it will be President [Leebron] who decides."

According to Testa, H&D is looking for potential spaces that could be converted into space for nine beds at a relatively low cost without acting against Brown students' interests. 

"One popular idea is making two quads on each floor by removing the kitchens and underused study cubbies," Testa said. "H&D would give us a new kitchen on the first floor in return."

Testa said Brown residents received the dialogue well and were particularly impressed by the extensive diagramming and architecture work H&D had done for suggestions. 

"The general attitude from Brown residents is that we're glad H&D came to us and extensively worked with us to form an idea," Testa said. "We're glad they just didn't come and tell us so-and-so was happening."

Testa joined Eletto and the administration in stating that everything was tentative. 

"It's still just an idea at this point," Testa said. "I don't know that they particularly have a desire to do it. I think this is more of a polished possible scenario that they want input on in the case that Leebron says he wants more rooms. There is a definite chance of this not happening."

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