Undergrad Rooms in NW35 Dorm Will Not Have Stoves

The undergraduates living in NW35 this fall will not have access to the stoves that were to be installed in their rooms.

The current plan “under consideration” for the undergraduate portion of NW35 is for there to be no stoves in the rooms, said Donna M. Denoncourt, associate dean of residential life. Instead, the undergraduates will share a single “modified country kitchen,” she said.

Fifty-seven undergraduates will be living in the graduate dormitory NW35, the new Ashdown House, when it opens in fall 2008. These undergraduates will form the core of the community that will move into W1 in fall 2010, when its renovation from a graduate dormitory to an undergraduate dormitory is completed.

Housing has canceled the order for the stoves in the undergraduate portion of NW35, said Director of Housing Dennis J. Collins. The stoves may still be reordered if plans change, he said.

The decision not to install these stoves was made to be “consistent across campus” as “no undergraduates have stoves in their rooms,” said Denoncourt.

Unlike the shared kitchens in most undergraduate dormitories, the kitchens in NW35 are more private, located within individual apartment units and available to one or two people. Studio doubles at Bexley Hall also include kitchens available only to two people.

“It’s not a shared kitchen,” said Denoncourt about the NW35 arrangements. “It’s an individual kitchen. A shared kitchen would allow for more of a group connection.”

Sarah C. Hopp ’08, president of the Dormitory Council, agreed with Denoncourt’s evaluation of the individual kitchens. “It’s better for them to cook together rather than cooking alone. That’s how dining works in dorms that have kitchens,” she said.

“As long as they have an option to cook if they like, I think that’s going to be fine,” Hopp said.

Plans for W1 also played a factor in the decision, Denoncourt said. The plans for food options for the undergraduates at NW35 were “staying in line with the document that the chancellor wrote about having dining in the new W1 program,” she said. The decision is part of an effort to “try to create a community … dining being a piece of creating that community.”

Jack Carroll, housemaster for the new W1, also emphasized the importance of the community for undergraduates at NW35. “We’re trying to put together a community and a healthy living and learning environment,” he said.

Discussions are currently underway about the prepared food options that will be available to undergraduates at NW35. A committee, which includes members from the W1 founders group of undergraduates, is working on developing the dining options for all of NW35.

The possibility of a catered-in dining hall at NW35 was presented at a March meeting of the Housing Strategy Group, a collection of administrators and student leaders, Hopp said. Because of concerns over the capacity of the food service kitchen at NW35, the proposal included having food brought in from other dining halls, such as the one at Simmons Hall.

However, it seems that the final shape of the dining program at NW35 has yet to be determined.

“There is the intent to have an undergraduate program for the students at NW35, but the specifics have not been worked out,” Director of Campus Dining Richard D. Berlin III said.