Improved graduate/professional housing a key goal for university

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Hall of Graduate Studies (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Provost Ben Polak has announced that the university is moving forward with the construction of a modern housing complex on Elm Street for graduate and professional students.

A zoning application for the 82-bed building, which is expected to open in 2017, will be filed with the City of New Haven, the provost said.

“This project is an essential part of our strategic plan to improve graduate housing and a crucial step toward enabling us to begin the long-awaited renovation of the Hall of Graduate Studies,” Polak said, noting that the modern complex will feature kitchens and common rooms.

“With the leadership of Vice President for Student Life Kim Goff-Crews and Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley, and with guidance from the Graduate & Professional Student Advisory Committee on Housing, we have done extensive research to determine the criteria that matter most to our students,” the provost said of the building’s design.

Goff-Crews said, “We plan to continue a dialogue with student leaders of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, the Graduate Student Assembly and the Graduate and Professional Student Advisory Committee on Housing as plans develop. I am very pleased that these projects put us firmly on the path to cultivating an environment in which every student can thrive.”

In addition, once the two new residential colleges are completed for Yale College, the “Swing Space” residence hall on Tower Parkway will no longer be used for undergraduate housing. “That building will be renovated for use by law students and, as space permits, by graduate and professional students more generally,” Polak said. “In addition, we are working with local developers to provide input into a number of private projects that will add further housing that is both high quality and conveniently located.”

The provost, who had previously noted that the Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS) on York Street was in critical need of repair, said the new housing efforts, including the building project at 272 Elm St., would offset the need to continue housing graduate students in HGS, and provide residences of higher quality. “This means that when the refurbishment of HGS is completed, we will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use the space in a new and innovative way,” Polak said.

One idea being explored, the provost said, would be to make a renovated HGS a central, collaborative home for the humanities at Yale — which, he noted, would also make a strong statement about Yale’s enduring commitment to the vibrancy and centrality of the humanities. The provost and Tamar Gendler, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, have asked Amy Hungerford, professor of English and American studies and divisional director for the humanities, to lead a committee from across the humanities to look into the feasibility and desirability of reconfiguring HGS as the center for humanities disciplines. The renovation of HGS will be conducted in phases, beginning in 2017 when the new graduate housing building is opened.

In addition to on-campus residences, Yale’s Housing Office has expanded support for members of the Yale community seeking off-campus housing. Many local landlords and home sellers advertise their properties with Yale’s Off Campus Living service. The database information includes properties for rent or sale, landlord ratings, and help with finding a roommate.

The Housing Office will be hosting its first annual Housing Fair on Saturday, Feb. 7 to inform graduate and professional students, faculty, and staff about the latest housing options in the greater New Haven area. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Commons in Woolsey Hall, 500 College St.

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