HMC Begins Planning Dorm Expansion

As Harvey Mudd College begins to look at adding residence halls, the college held the first of several forums designed to gather student input on the expansion. 

Senior Project Manager James Hawley explained at the forum, which took place Oct. 29, that HMC currently houses 800 students, for whom the college only has 748 beds. He wrote in an e-mail to TSL that the dorm projects being studied now are not “directly connected” to the proposed increase in enrollment at HMC. 

“We have people living in Brighton Park, and as a residential liberal arts college, we really should have enough space on campus,” said Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College President Travis Athougies HM ’14.

Hawley said that current talks lean toward adding a new residence hall north of the Garrett House, but proposals also include remodeling current residence halls and creating two new L-shaped residence halls on Linde Field.   

When the forum was opened to students, many stressed the idea of creating a sense of community. Suggestions included configuring rooms as suites and creating rooms small enough to encourage students to go outside to socialize.  

Students also said that they would like for any new residence hall to have “warts,” the square accent blocks found in the current residence halls. 

Vice President for Administration and Finance Andrew Dorantes pointed out at the forum that there are several aspects of new construction dictated by the city of Claremont. For example, a new residence hall, like all others at HMC, must open up onto or extend the “Mall” at the center of campus. Additionally, the water tower in front of Sontag Hall cannot be moved or modified. 

Dorantes also said that the earliest anyone would see any changes being done would be in the fall of 2015, but a more realistic timeline would be January 2016.

Students reacted positively to the forum. 

“I think it’s really great that the administration is open to talking to us about this,” Jacob Bandes-Storch HM ’14 said. “Obviously it’s not our decision to make, but I’m really glad that they are asking for our opinions and listening.”  

Nick Carter HM ’15 agreed.

“I think it’s fantastic that the administration is open to really allowing the community to make it our college,” he said.

Hawley said the administration plans to hold additional student forums and that the expansion planning committee, which will advise the Board of Trustees, includes students. 

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