When three years of construction and renovation on first-year dorms comes to an end this spring, one might expect that the shifting and shuffling of College House affiliations might finally be complete.
After the renovations on Winthrop and Maine halls are completed, two upper-class residences will be added to the College House System: Boody-Reed House and Burnett House.
This decision, however, was not without debate.
"We've been having discussions about whether we'd want to keep six college houses [and] have double affiliations," said Alex Lamb, '07, president of the Inter-House Council (IHC).
However, it was decided that double affiliations would be too complicated, especially during the orientation events that involve first years interacting with and visiting the college houses. Lamb cited orientation as one of the system's most important interactions with first years.
Burnett and Reed were two of very few options for new college houses. The other houses under consideration, such as Smith House, were far too small.
"There's only so much property that the College owns that has the adequate space to be a college house," explained Lamb.
Boody-Reed House offered a few new opportunities, since geographically it is farther off campus than most of the other houses.
One first-year brick will also be offered as a quiet house, Director of Residential Life Kim Pacelli said.
The idea for a quiet hall was proposed as a reaction to the increase in the number of students interested in living in chem-free residences.
When presented with the idea of having two chem-free first-year dorms to satisfy the higher demand, most students though that it would not be successful. According to Pacelli, a quiet dorm, however, could attract some people interested in that aspect of the chem-free system.
It is still unknown which dorm will be chem-free and which dorm will be designated as "quiet."
Mike Taylor '07, currently the RA for Burnett House, said that the change in the house's status presents new possibilities.
"It would be a great opportunity for a group of kids to express their idea of what a college house should look like," he said.
In addition to the changes concerning Burnett and Reed, other changes are taking place with housing, including the system of college house blocking.
"We decreased the block size to four as opposed to eight," said Lamb. "It was really hard to fit blocks of eight into the house [system]."
In Ladd House?with 22 members?two blocks of eight would fill almost the entire residence.
New this year on account of Burnett and Reed is also a slightly altered system of affiliation. As always, students can apply individually to live in their own house or block with up to three other students and apply to whichever house the block represents. This year, however, students have more options.
"What's new for this year is that every student has standing to apply to Reed or Burnett," said Pacelli.
First-year brick and college house affiliations will likely be changing again next year, and some members of the IHC would like to see the affiliations return to their original status, and then maintain that connection over the years.
"There's a lot of conflicting opinion," said Lamb.
She explained that it is hard to foster tradition when the group of people affiliated with the house is changing every year. But, on the other hand, the changing affiliations leaves room for a lot of new people to be accepted," she added.
Though rumored otherwise, East and West will remain as first-year dorms, and all rooms will be doubles. In the case that there is extra space in East and West, it is possible that the top floors would be open to upperclass, providing about 20 spaces for the upperclass housing lottery. Nothing, however, can be decided yet.
"We need to know the size of the first-year class," said Pacelli, "and we'll find out about that over spring break."
As worries over a housing crunch continue with students, Pacelli said that housing is again going to be in high demand, but that there should not be any problems.
In fact, Residential Life hopes to reverse some of the changes they had to make this year?turning the triples in Brunswick apartments back into doubles, and the quints in Stowe Hall back into quads.