The Office of Residential Life (ResLife) has decided to end its rental of the School Street apartments and will not offer them in the 2016-2017 housing lottery due to security concerns. Instead, it will be opening four new suites, which are currently undergoing renovations, on the second floor of Coles Tower.

 For the past five years, the College has rented this four-apartment building from Maine State Music Theatre, which uses the space to house employees during the summer. Situated north of the campus off of Maine Street, it is the furthest student housing option offered in the lottery. 
While there have been no specific security related incidents at the School Street apartments this year, individuals have expressed concerns over the safety of the location. 

“There were some conversations in the fall about wanting to make sure [the residents] had the ability to secure windows and secure doors, and we worked with Maine State Music Theatre to make sure that that happened,” said Associate Director of Housing Operations Lisa Rendall. 

The owner of the property subsequently added an automatically locking door. 

Because the College does not own the building, residents have to carry separate keys, and the building has not had some of same safety protocols as other residences. Rendall believes the elimination of this housing option is also a positive change, as it is more difficult for security to monitor the School Street apartments.

Axis Fuksman-Kumpa ’17, a resident of School Street, described the neighborhood as “sketchy” and has had to take precautions while walking to School Street after dark due to its distance. 

 “I do end up taking Safe Ride a lot at night, especially because it’s a slightly sketchy part of the Brunswick neighborhood,” said Fuksman-Kumpa. “I have a lot of people who are always concerned about me walking home at night and stuff because it’s a longer walk. I have never had any incidents myself, so it hasn’t been a huge impact for me, but it’s definitely been something that’s on my mind.”

 Communication between the residents, ResLife and the landlord has been complicated as well. The landlord has specific dates students need to move out at the end of the year, which conflict with Senior Week. Work orders for repairs were equally complicated as, depending on the service required, either private repairman the landlord contracted or Bowdoin Facilities Management fulfilled the requests.

While transportation to School Street and the building itself have caused unease, Rendall voiced the reason for eliminating this housing option as ultimately due to practicality.

 “It didn’t make sense for the College to continue to pay rent to Maine State Music Theatre when we’re able to provide the housing in-house, so to speak, on campus.”

To compensate for all but one of the 13 beds in the apartments, the College is currently renovating the second floor of Coles Tower to create four new suites. The configurations of these rooms will differ from the rest of Coles Tower. The floor will be able to house 12 students in two two-bedroom doubles and two three-bedroom quads.

Fuksman-Kumpa cited one incident of a loud argument that occurred on her street earlier in the year. Otherwise, there have not been any concerns that would deter her from living there in the future, and she has enjoyed her accommodations.

“I’ve been happy to live there. I haven’t regretted it at any point. And the pros have outweighed the cons for me.”