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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

New dormitories evoke mixed reactions

<rounding the inauguration of Carleton’s two new dorms, Memorial and Cassat, culminated on August 26 with an open house and a tour that gave Carleton staff and students the chance to receive a tour and check out the new facilities.

Though the dorms’ construction have run into several obstacles throughout the past fifteen months, including Northfield group Northfield Eastside Neighborhood Association (NESNA) protesting tree removal, the unveiling of the new dorms quieted most of their critics.

Student response to the new dorms—especially Memorial—has been positive. Features include heated floors, motion sensor lights, strong wireless connection and ceiling fans rotating in two directions to circulate two different air temperatures.

In addition to the comfort of the new dorms, Carleton is pursuing a gold level of certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. Most of the technology used in the new dorms was chosen on the basis of its sustainability. The motion sensors and the in-floor heating are energy-saving technologies with long-term use, and the buildings have been enveloped by insulated concrete for increased thermal performance and have solar thermal rooftop collectors to warm water.

Sustainability aside, the new dormitories have provoked jealousy among other students living elsewhere on campus. Memorial and Cassat have a number of study rooms and printers which make it possible for students to get all their work done without having to leave their dorms. With the LDC opposite the dorms just across the Mini Bald Spot, students may never have to travel to the west side of the campus anymore. Cassat and Memorial also boast a tunnel that connects them. Just outside this tunnel is a game room complete with a plasma TV, foosball and snooker tables.

“I am going to hibernate in my dorms once winter creeps in,” said Sonali Gupta, a sophomore living in Cassat.

“Generally its awesome!” said Danny Chen, a sophmore who was drawn in by a senior into a Memorial quint. But, as Chen explained, the dorms have their small share of problems too: the biggest is that large parts of the dorms are completely cell phone dead zones. ResLife, in response to the cell-phone situation, said that it is aware of the issue and is working on a solution.

Another problem encountered by students living on the Eastside is that because of the construction of the new dorms, the LDC has become overcrowded, making dining a very inconvenient experience for most students. “I have never been to the LDC and found a glass!” said one student.

Memorial Hall, which is designed in suites with large singles and doubles, comes with a bathroom with huge mirrors, multiple sinks and a kitchen top which has a fridge, a microwave and a sink which makes living in Memorial like living in an off campus house, except that you have to be on a meal plan.

“It would be ideal if they provided a small stove in Memorial and gave people the option of being off the meal plan if they want to,” said another student. If ResLife considered and went through with this option, it would result in approximately the same number of people eating in the dining halls as it had before the reduction of the Northfield option.

Danica Lance, the hall director of the Memorial and Cassat halls, said that she felt privileged to be working and living in the two new buildings. “There have been some minor issues that have come along with the opening of the two buildings, but we have all been very understanding and cooperative with these issues,” said Lance.

Lance also said that she felt that the residents were very pleased with the common areas and the new amenities that the two buildings offer. Lance also said that she has been seeing students from all over campus in the buildings taking advantage of them.

Construction for the new dormitories started in spring of 2008. Opening at the beginning of the school year, Cassat and Memorial Hall house approximately 230 students.

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