Scripps Receives $10 Million to Build Residence Hall

Scripps College will have a tenth residence hall as early as August 2016, thanks in part to an anonymous naming gift of $10 million announced Oct. 11 by college president Lori Bettison-Varga. The hall is expected to be built along Platt Boulevard, in place of the maintenance department building, which will be relocated to the basement of the Lang Art Studios. 

To accommodate enrollment fluctuations, many Scripps single-occupancy residence hall rooms have been converted into doubles, and doubles into triples, leading to overcrowded living situations. Ninety-five Scripps students are living in off-campus housing this year due to limited on-campus residence options, according to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson. 

“We have been discussing the possibility of a new residence hall for several years and in the last year moved ahead with a specific proposal and design,” she wrote in an email to TSL. “Our consistently strong enrollment numbers have punctuated the need for an additional student residential facility.” 

Board of Trustees Student Representative Kristiana Kim SC ’16 wrote in an email to TSL that the housing crunch is "less than ideal since Scripps wants everyone to have access to a close res-life community.”

“In some ways, the housing crunch can be seen in a positive light because it's the result of more students choosing to attend Scripps than Admissions projected," she added. "Expansion of on-campus housing capacity will allow Scripps to slightly increase enrollment and respond to the increasing demand for its education.”

A final design for the hall, referred to as "NEW Hall" until a permanent name is identified, is expected this winter, according to Scripps Treasurer and Vice President for Business Affairs Donna Ng. 

In an email to TSL, Ng wrote that the estimated construction time will be 14 to 18 months, beginning in the spring of 2015 and ending in time for school to begin in August 2016. 

The residence hall will cost approximately $20 million, according to a college press release. The college will continue to raise funds for the residence hall as part of the More Campaign for Scripps College, which has raised a total of $103 million toward a goal of $175 million by 2018. 

Ng wrote that the final design will incorporate “energy efficient equipment” and that the college will discuss Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.  

According to the press release, the building will be an eco-friendly, “Mediterranean style” living space with courtyards, rec rooms, a computer room and a kitchen to accommodate 100 students.  

Maddie Glouner SC ’17 spoke favorably of the planned hall but also expressed concerns about the project. 

"A new residence hall would be great because of our issues with over-enrollment and limited housing spaces for students,” Glouner said. "But the construction would kind of hurt the peaceful aesthetic Scripps embodies while new dorms were being built.” 

Additionally, she said, “I think it may not be the right time to take such a large allocation of funds and put it towards a dorm rather than other things the school could benefit from, such as Keck [the intercollegiate science department], and getting more distinguished speakers for events."