New Scripps Dorm to Combine Sustainability Measures with Traditional Design

After five years of planning, Scripps College is on the fast track to finish its newest residence hall, aptly named NEW Hall for the time being. Construction began in August 2015 and is slated to finish by July 31, 2016, in time for the fall 2016 semester.

The construction of NEW Hall will help alleviate Scripps’s housing shortage, according to Dean Calvo, treasurer and vice president of business affairs at Scripps.

"There’s been a desire at Scripps to be able to guarantee housing… to all of its enrollment," Calvo said.

Lola Trafecanty, director of grounds, agreed that Scripps has "run out of space as enrollment increased."

Currently, 32 Scripps students are housed in an off-campus apartment complex leased by Scripps, and 32 more are living at Harvey Mudd College’s new Drinkward Residence Hall on a one-year contract. 

Dena Kleemeier SC ’19 said that junior and senior students "tend to get pushed to other campuses." 

Calvo and Trafecanty emphasized Scripps’ frustration with the situation and expressed their desire to have all students live on campus.

"When a student’s on campus, the live-learn opportunities multiply," Calvo said.

In addition to housing some students off-campus, Scripps currently houses about 75 percent of its first-year class in triples that were designed to be doubles. 

"A lot of my friends live in forced triples," Kleemeier said. "They’re supposed to be doubles, but they have three people living in them, so that’s kind of rough.”

Calvo said that the highest priority for the NEW Hall is “quality of life and how it impacts student development and socialization.” As such, the dorms will be designed to facilitiate student interactions.

Trafecanty said that she hopes the dorms will feel like “home away from home.”

"All of our residence halls have a living room, a browsing room, a rec room, and that’s also to support that social aspect of living together," Trafecanty said.

Throughout the planning and building process, Scripps has continually consulted with its student body before making decisions. 

Trafecanty said that in the administration's discussions with students, students expressed the desire for the NEW Dorm to have "old charm." Trafecanty said that the new residence hall will include interior courtyards.

At Scripps, "it’s always, since the beginning, been this indoor-outdoor relationship," she said.

Scripps students have also advocated for sustainability measures in the building. Trafecanty said she anticipated the building will be LEED Gold certified and will include an infiltration water collection point that diverts water before it goes into the storm drain. Calvo added that the dorm will "limit greenhouse gas use and power."

Scripps “can manage the building anywhere on the planet with a mobile app," Calvo said.

According to Trafecanty, all the residence hall's materials are locally sourced. 

Trafecanty and Calvo believe that the sustainability measures will not be readily apparent and that the building will fit in with Scripps’s old charm, despite its modern inner workings.  

“It’s not something you see as soon as you walk into the room," Trafecanty said. 

The architect's creativity "allowed the historic integrity of the past to be blended in with this new building," she added.

According to Calvo, construction for the residence hall is on a tight schedule not only because of the deadline, but also because the predicted El Niño will impede construction this winter. Construction starts at 7 a.m. on weekdays at 8 a.m. on weekends, Calvo said.

Calvo said that although some students have found the construction "disturbing," students have been "extremely patient."

"They’re really making a sacrifice for future Scripps students," Calvo said.