The Office of Residential Life has planned significant alterations for certain campus living spaces in response to a housing shortage caused by increased demand for on-campus housing. These changes will have immediate implications for the upcoming housing lottery. Residential Life plans to officially make the updated lottery information available today.

Beginning next fall, all of the quads in Stowe Hall and three of the 14 quads in Howard Hall will take on an extra occupant and become "quints," adding a third bed to one of the two bedrooms, which currently house two beds each. A draw for these five-person spaces will occur on the first day of the housing lottery, Tuesday, April 11, along with the "small houses" and chem-free residences.

Additionally, 20 of the 55 two-person Brunswick Apartments will accommodate a third resident and half of the single-occupancy rooms in Stowe Inn and Smith House will be turned into doubles.

Helmreich House and Baxter House will include one and two additional residents, respectively.

The tradition of not filling the rooms of Residential Assistants (RAs) to their capacity as a perk will be discontinued indefinitely beginning next fall.

The changes to the College's residential accommodations were made in response to projections that the present arrangements would fail to meet the needs of next year's student body. Residential Life took input from students and Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) representatives before deciding on specific changes to housing. It also took the square footage of each living space into account.

According to Director of Residential Life Kim Pacelli, the housing shortage is a result of several factors, including an increasing percentage of students who want to live on campus and a lack of college-owned property that is zoned for student occupancy.

"If you build it, they will come," she said. "The more housing is offered on campus, the more people will want to live here."

Pacelli said that the popularity of Stowe Hall and Howard Hall since their construction supports this theory. Those two dormitories were opened in 1996.

Residential Life elected not to change housing that is popular among seniors, such as quads in Coles Tower and Chamberlain Hall, in an effort to encourage seniors to live on campus.

"Campus feels more vibrant to me when there are more people on campus, and keeping seniors on campus is [a big part of that]," Pacelli said.

In recent years, the College has converted guest suites in Coles Tower to student residences and expanded the number of Brunswick Apartments to lodge a growing number of on-campus housing applicants. This semester, Residential Life added beds to rooms at Brunswick Apartments, Cleaveland Street Apartments, and School Street Apartments in order to accomodate students returning from study abroad programs.

Some juniors have even found themselves living in the student lounges of first-year dorms. While several of these students conceded that it is not what they would consider an ideal setup, they were generally satisfied with their living situations.

"Living in a first-year dorm really isn't that bad," said Matt Chadwick '07, who lives with another junior in the basement of Coleman Hall. "It was unfortunate that we couldn't live in our first choice...but the location of Coleman is good, and as a double we have a lot of space."

"It's better than living in Chamberlain," he added.

"Aside from the noise from the [dorm entrance] outside, it's not that bad," said junior Colin Beckman, who lives in the student lounge in Winthrop Hall. Beckman said that he is not frustrated with Residential Life.

As it strains to accommodate the increasing demand for on-campus housing, Residential Life has engaged College administrators in an ongoing dialogue concerning the creation of new living spaces for Bowdoin students. So far, these discussions have not yielded any viable solutions.

"With our current property stock, we can't convert any [College-owned] properties into new housing," Director of Facilities Administration Delwin Wilson said.

Wilson cited Brunswick zoning laws as the primary impediment to converting local College-owned properties into student housing. The only two unused Bowdoin properties that are zoned to house students are Mustard House at 234 Maine St. and the Donovan D. Lancaster House at 38 Harpswell St.

Mustard House is currently used to house faculty and staff. The College offers visiting faculty temporary residence in Mustard House for up to three years. Wilson said that this program is instrumental in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff.

According to Pacelli, the Mustard House residences are generally as sought after among faculty and staff as on-campus housing is among students.

"It's an issue of competing institutional demands," she said.

Lancaster House, which is currently unused by the College, has been eliminated as a potential ameliorant to the housing squeeze for different reasons. The College recently conducted a financial analysis to determine whether extra space would be worth the expense of converting the property into a student residence. It determined that the projected cost of renovation did not justify what amounted to a relatively small increase in housing.

The former Beta-Sigma fraternity house at 14 McKeen St. could be approved for student housing pending a review by the Brunswick Department of Planning and Development, according to the zoning ordinance. However, according to Wilson, the College agreed with the Town of Brunswick that the property would no longer be used as a student residence when it purchased it from the Beta Corporation after the College dismantled its Greek system in 1997. Wilson also said that the former fraternity's distance from campus also figured into the decision to stop housing students there.

He added that the College has no current plans to build new on-campus residence halls.

When the renovation of the first year bricks is complete in fall 2007, Residential Life projects that 20 to 25 spaces will be available to non-first years, should they be needed in the event of a future housing squeeze.

Though Pacelli predicted that some students will be frustrated by some of the changes to student housing, particularly in popular locations such as Brunswick Apartments, Smith House, and Stowe Inn, she said that students are generally positive about their living accommodations, which were ranked 16th among all U.S. colleges this year by the Princeton Review.

"People are generally appreciative of Bowdoin housing," she said.