New temporary dorms on Professors Row to accommodate 150 first-years this fall

Temporary accommodation at the current site of The Mods will be used to house 150 freshmen in fall 2022, Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarribar informed the Tufts community in a April 8 E-mail. The construction of Three separate buildings, which will house 50 students and three resident assistants eachwill begin once the university plan has been approved by the Town of Somerville.

The new accommodation, which does not yet have a name, will be located at 91, 93 and 95 row of teachers. The university does not plan to continue using the Hyatt Place in Medford to accommodate incoming first years and will use the new temporary dormitories instead.

“Because this year’s incoming class was larger than expected, we have taken steps to increase our on-campus residential capacity to accommodate our sophomores and incoming class next fall,” the email read.

Each building will include akkitchen, common area, study area, bathrooms and laundry roomsays the email. Rooms will be primarily double rooms, with a small number of single rooms in each building. The new temporary units will be part of Tufts freshman housing offerings for at least the next five yearswhile The Mods currently occupying the Vouté tennis courts will be moved to the Fletcher parking lot.

Tufts University Transportation and Parking announced that the Fletcher parking lot would be close for construction in an email to the Tufts Community at April 1citing “a need for additional modular housing on campus”.

Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Collins said that while the new dorms may look like The Mods from the outside, the inside will be an upgrade from the current modular housing units.

“While their exterior shapes may appear similar to COVID units, the new units will look very different,” Collins wrote in an email to The Daily. “While the COVID units were intended to temporarily house students and keep them isolated, the new units will provide comfortable living spaces and higher quality finishes and encourage social connections and community building.”

In its April 8 email, Lizarríbar said Tufts was looking to expand and optimize its housing offerings outside of its construction of new temporary housing. She said the university had “added beds through optimization programs”, was preparing to convert more university-owned houses into apartments for upperclassmen and was planning a new residence hall for 370 upperclassmen which should open in 2026.

Residential assistants assigned to the new dorm were initially confused when they saw the name “Packard” as a housing assignment. According to collins, Packard will not be the official name of the new accommodation.

“I discovered my 2022-2023 housing mission in March”, Zanna A., an RA assigned to the new temporary dorms, wrote in a post to The Daily. “It was listed as Packard, which was a real headache as I didn’t know of any existing dorms by that name then – I was quickly informed that the placement was the current temporary building.”

Avi Belbase, another RA assigned to the new dormsalso had many questions when he first heard about his dorm assignment.

“The housing details are still a bit confusing, so the students just call it ‘the new mods'” he wrote in a message to the Daily.

Zanna, a sophomore, explained that she expects her responsibilities as RA to remain the same.

“As it stands, my duties will remain the same – likely with a stronger focus on community building to address the awkwardness of living in the mulched housing unit,” Zanna wrote.

Avi, a sophomore, added that he thinks being housed on campus is the most important thing for incoming freshmen. “I would much rather be on campus in mods than off campus (sorry Hyatt kids)!” writes Belbase.

Zanna said she doesn’t know what exactly the new temporary accommodation will look like, but that despite its location, she expects it to be nicer than the current modular accommodation.

“While I don’t have many ideas of what the dorm will look like, I imagine it will be quite the mod upgrade,” she wrote.

Zanna said she was excited when she received the dorm placement, mainly due to her prime location.

“I know it’s a hot take, but being the first cohort of Jumbos to be placed in this transient caravan town is pretty cool,” she wrote. “I understand that the optics of the situation are laughable, but if there is anything I know about this incoming class, it is that they are resilient to the challenges of change. Despite the supposed aesthetic alienation , I’m sure my fellow RAs and I will do more than enough to make Packard feel like the place to be.

To like Zanna, Avi was not concerned about his dorm assignment and he pointed out that the new dorm was ideally located for the first years to be located.

“I personally don’t spend much time in my dorm anyway, so I’m not really concerned about myself,” he wrote. “I’m more curious if this will have a significant effect on the morale of my residents.”

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