What are the key objectives of the plan and how did it become one of the college’s priorities?

The plan will improve the quality of living spaces on campus, invest in a new Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC), and better serve the student experience for years to come. It also commits to cultural and interest houses as a key component to housing options; creates newer and more diverse house and townhouse living options; updates or replaces houses that do not meet current standards; and increases bed counts on campus and reduces the number of students living off campus. The plans are consistent with those outlined in the 2012 Strategic Plan and the 2014 Facilities Master Plan.

What are the drivers behind the plan?

The plan prioritizes more equitable living and communal spaces on campus with a focus on student mental health and counseling. It also addresses the goals of improving the quality of residential living spaces, creating a greater sense of belonging, improved equity in housing options, and additional space for student living.

How long will it take to accomplish the full plan?

The residential plan will take shape over a period of five years or more, in four phases, with an anticipated groundbreaking on the Lilac Hill and Union Street townhouses expected in the spring of 2023 or later.

The plan calls for the removal of some houses. Why not refurbish them instead?

Most campus houses, built in the 1930s, do not meet college standards for student living and can no longer adequately serve the students living in them. Newer houses and townhouses will create better student space, significantly improved energy efficiency and important amenities like air conditioning and community space. We expect to bring programmatic elements and structural aspects of the homes into the new spaces.

How much will it cost and how will the college pay for it?

The plan is estimated to cost in the range of $60-70 million. The plan is currently in the conceptual stage, with much more design development and construction design work to do before final costs can be determined. Plans for funding the full project are still in development.  

Will this plan solve all of Carleton’s student housing needs?

No, but it will get the college closer to managing the ones it is currently facing right now — the poor condition of many of these houses, inequity in living environments and the lack of a dedicated space for student health and counseling. Carleton’s capital renewal program provides on-going funding for maintenance and upkeep of the college’s large residence halls.

Where does SHAC fit in to the plan?

It’s a core feature of the plan. It is necessary to complete phase one of the plan, so the site can be prepped for new Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) construction. After SHAC moves, its current space in Davis will be turned back into residential housing.

What is happening with Farm and Parr houses?

Both, along with a number of other campus houses, will be taken down. The Dean of Students office will be talking with students living in all the houses that are impacted throughout this process to work on how to provide the unique communities associated with the houses for future Carls.

When we’re talking about a high-level conceptual plan…what can change?

This is a framework. It has been in the planning stages for several years, and it will not be completed overnight. The general direction of the plan is set; planning for how the spaces look and function will happen in phases over coming years. As we develop this plan, there will be many opportunities for input.

How was community input incorporated, and how can people provide input at this stage of planning?

Student focus groups were held in the fall of 2019 and winter 2020. These five focus groups included more than 325 students from various groups and organizations. Additional conversations are being facilitated on campus with groups of students, faculty and staff in the days and weeks ahead. The plan will be shared more broadly with the Carleton and Northfield community in the coming weeks.