Eric Wang

Random purple columns, a buttery last renovated in 2000, lighting reminiscent of a submarine’s — it’s clear that Branford’s basement is in need of repairs. But there is currently no plan devised for its renovation.

The basement has long been a sore subject for Branford students. The narrow hallways branch out suddenly into rooms like the gym or the laundry room and it is often hard for two people to pass each other, resulting in stalemates between those with broad shoulders. Students have also complained about the cramped gym, which houses too much equipment in a small, narrow space.

Although Branford Head of College Enrique De La Cruz has taken steps to improve some of the basement’s facilities, he said that the college’s basement was originally not intended to be a functioning space.

“I love Branford,” said Head of College Enrique De La Cruz in an email. “But we are in an old building that was not designed with a functional basement in mind. The best things about it is the Branford student community that uses it on a daily basis.”

De La Cruz said he had already seen how little renovations can go a long way in the basement. The college recently renovated its pottery studio, and the Branford students welcomed the newly improved space with open arms. De La Cruz also mentioned that he has taken steps such as repainting the walls and bringing in decorations to make the basement a more inviting space. The buttery also recently received brand-new chairs and new lighting.

The rumors of a fundraising effort to renovate the basement in summer 2019 have spread throughout the residential college this fall. The leader of this effort is unclear, but it appears that demand for improving the facilities extends to the college as a whole.

Clayton Hebert ’21 who lives in Branford and is an avid user of the gym as well as other basement facilities said that while he appreciated having an exercise space in the college, he felt like Branford’s amenities did not compare to those of other colleges.

Branford’s Chief Head of College Aide and Co-President of Branford College Council Annalise Graves ’19 expressed her full support for a fundraising effort. Still, she cautioned those passionate about improving the basement to not become complacent if plans to renovate stagnate.

“I definitely think a fundraising effort would be a good thing,” Graves said. “There’s a rumor going around right now about major renovations happening this summer, but there’s been rumors about basement renovations every year I’ve been here.”

Branford College was opened in 1933.

Eamonn Smith  |