Greenway Dormitories Open For First Year
Issue   |   Thu, 09/01/2016 - 21:24

Students will begin moving into the new Greenway dorms, the newest addition to housing on campus, on Sept. 3. The dorms, which were largely built through last year, were officially completed this summer.

Planning for the dorms, which replace the student housing provided by the social dorms, took place through the summer and fall of 2013. The social dorms were torn down this summer to make way for a new science center.

“Two and a half years from conception to completion for a project of this significance is quite quick,” director of design and construction Tom Davies said of the Greenway dorms. “Yet the quality did not suffer a bit.”

In an effort to grant access to the dorms in their first year in operation to a wider range of students, the Office of Residential life modified room draw last semester specifically for the Greenway dorms, capping available space in the dorms by class year. Currently, 87 seniors, 99 juniors and 105 sophomores will reside in the dorms this semester.

According to associate director of residential life Corry Colonna, the number of upperclass students in the Greenway dorms have decreased slightly since room draw last spring due to some students going abroad and others choosing not to return for the upcoming semester.

Lauren Carter ’17, a residential counselor in the new dorms, said that the four connected dorms, designated Greenway A, B, C and D, will help build a tight-knit community.

“As an RC, I think the new dorms provide so many opportunities for programming both in each dorm and amongst the entire Greenway unit,” she said. “We have large spaces where everyone can gather, which will help facilitate programming events.”

Along with the features originally announced earlier in the planning phase, the new dorms have an outdoor amphitheatre between the buildings with electrical power for band performances, study carrels in the top floors of Greenway B and D, a rooftop deck, tiered seating areas with televisions and a jukebox in the bridge between Greenway B and C. There is also a larger indoor event space that can accommodate up to 200 people. Davies described the event space as “akin to the Powerhouse, but not as large.” There are full kitchens in the bridge areas, and kitchenettes “typically every other floor in a two-story lounge with a spiral stair connecting the two levels,” Davies said.

Carter said that some of the new features might represent a disparity of housing quality within the college.
“I can only hope that the creation of these new dorms will serve as an impetus for renovating other dorms on campus to provide more equal housing across the board,” she said.

According to Davies, unforeseen weather conditions impacted the construction process in multiple ways. Although the relative lack of heavy snow this past winter ensured that there were no construction days lost to snow, planting for the Greenway has been delayed due to an ongoing drought in the area.

According to an Aug. 18 email from the president’s office to the college community, the state of Massachusetts has issued a drought watch, and the Town of Amherst imposed mandatory water conservation measures on campuses in the area.
The sustainable technology added to the new dorms include water conservation measures, such as harvesting rainwater from the rooftops to feed the indoor plumbing and store filtered water in a storage tank. Other notable sustainability features, not all of which are visible, include shaping the dorms to emphasize stair use and minimize elevator use, building materials that insulate more efficiently and a shower water energy reclaim system that uses runoff heat from showers to heat more water for use.

The Greenway is part of a larger development project involving the new dorms as well as the upcoming science center. It will mainly consist of a walkway stretching across east campus, hugging the hillside to the south of Keefe Campus Center.