Swing Space to serve as annex

Starting next year, Swing Space will serve as annex housing for as many as six residential colleges.

The bulk of suites in Swing Space, which has housed students of residential colleges under renovation for the past 12 years, will go to annexed students, said John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, though the Law School will be using part of the building for administrative space. In e-mails to their students, the deans of Berkeley and Saybrook colleges also announced that Berkeley freshmen will live in Lanman-Wright Hall, while Saybrook freshmen and annexed juniors will live in Vanderbilt Hall next year.

“It should be a very different situation, where people don’t have to worry about being forced to move off campus,” Meeske said. “Swing Space should become a really desirable option.”

He said there will only be two students in each Swing Space suite, meaning that annexed students from Berkeley, Ezra Stiles, Morse and Trumbull colleges will have single bedrooms.

Meeske said Swing Space might even become so popular that he and the residential college deans, who are responsible for housing, will need to make sure all the suites in the colleges remain filled.

Berkeley student Brendan Ross ’13 said that he and some of his sophomore friends might prefer to be annexed from Berkeley next year to live in Swing Space with juniors from a variety of residential colleges.

“As long as I live with my friends, it could be cool to live in a dorm that’s all juniors,” he said.

Meeske said that undergraduates will occupy the first three floors of Swing Space, with law students occupying the top floor. If there are vacancies in the undergraduate floors, Meeske said they might be filled by graduate students or other undergraduates from any college who opt to live in Swing Space during the housing draw. Meeske said there will likely be an adult presence in Swing Space, similar to the Old Campus fellows, to provide supervision and to facilitate social activities in the dorm.

There is still some uncertainty surrounding these plans for Swing Space, since it is hard to predict how popular the residence will be with students, Meeske said. Despite this, housing more students in Swing Space will fix the housing shortage that has existed in previous years, he said. Yale will no longer need to house undergraduates in apartments and townhouses off campus, Meeske added, and these properties will once again be turned over to University Properties. While some see the new freshmen housing arrangements, which switch Berkeley and Saybrook colleges’ dormitories, as a big change, Meeske said housing on Old Campus once rotated every few years. Still, he said, it has not in recent years.

The new freshman housing arrangements are intended to allot more space to the growing freshman class next year. Meeske said the class of 2015 will include about 14 more students than the class of 2014.

“This welcome change will accommodate our slightly larger class of 2015 and provide a consistent location for annex housing, something Saybrook has always lacked,” Saybrook Dean Paul McKinley wrote in an e-mail to his students Tuesday.

Since freshmen will no longer live across the street from Saybrook, McKinley said, upperclassmen will have to make an effort to reach out to next year’s freshman class and make them feel part of the Saybrook community.

While some Saybrook students expressed delight about their move to Vanderbilt Hall, which many said is nicer than Lanman-Wright Hall, not all see it as a positive change.

“I think it’s unfortunate that future Saybrugians will not have the L-Dub experience,” said Sahar Segal ’13, adding that the tight quarters of Lanman-Wright Hall help freshmen bond and become closer.

Berkeley students learned of the change in an e-mail from their dean’s office Monday.

“Future freshmen will be more connected than ever to the Berkeley community, and Freshmen Counselors will be closer to the great friends that they have in the upper classes,” the e-mail said.

Ross, a Berkeley sophomore, said he thinks it will be beneficial to Berkeley freshmen to live closer to their college, though he admitted that it may be a drawback for freshmen since some students consider Vanderbilt Hall to be nicer than Lanman-Wright Hall.

Eventually, Meeske said, Swing Space will house the freshmen assigned to the two new residential colleges in the first year that they open. After that year, the entire building will house law students. Originally, Meeske said that once the new colleges are built, Yale will be able to reduce enrollment in the existing colleges to avoid annexing.

Swing Space was constructed in 1998, and was originally designed to last 20 years and then be gutted and renovated. Originally, the entire building was supposed to be given to the Law School following the renovation of the 12 colleges.

Correction: January 20, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Yale Law School students will be living in Swing Pace next year, when the Law School will actually be using part of the building for administrative space.

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