OPINION: Letter to the Editor: Apr. 2, 2013

BY WILLIAM B. RUSSEL AND ANDREW KANE
Dean of the Graduate School and Director of Housing & Real Estate

Response to “Home improvement or home alone?” (March 27, 2013)

The University recognizes the importance of offering housing to support graduate students and help generate community. For that purpose, Princeton is proud of and committed to maintaining a residential community that fosters social and intellectual interactions. A key tenet of the Campus Plan of 2008 was for the University to continue to house a majority of its graduate students – hence the commitment to house approximately 70 percent of enrolled graduate students. This goal has been a long-standing target for Princeton that far exceeds those of our peers.

We are developing new housing for graduate students at the former Hibben & Magie site, to be named Lakeside Apartments. This residential complex will offer apartments and townhomes ranging from one-bedroom to four-bedroom units that will accommodate a diversity of housing needs. This property has been developed with careful consideration and input from various vested partners, including graduate students, over the past few years. This represents a significant investment and our commitment to providing high quality graduate housing on campus.

Lakeside will provide housing for more than 700 graduate students in 74 townhome units and 255 apartments. Also included will be a “commons” with a fitness center, lounge, computer cluster with a printer and a children’s playroom. The complex will feature outdoor common areas including a patio for barbecuing, basketball and volleyball courts and a parking garage with over 400 spaces for Lakeside residents. We are looking forward to the opening of Lakeside during the summer of 2014.

With the opening of Lakeside comes the closure of two of our older complexes that house graduate students: Butler and Stanworth. The planned closures of Butler and Stanworth have been communicated over many years and have always been represented in the plan. While the Stanworth Apartments will be redeveloped and modernized for use as faculty/staff housing, the Butler Apartments, which were built as temporary housing in the 1940s, are no longer viable as student housing. Our commitment to keeping students informed about these plans has led to publication of details and timelines about the plan periodically over the last seven years.

Frequent updates on progress are posted on the Housing and Real Estate Services website. When Room Draw information was posted on February 4, it included a reminder for students that this was the last year housing could be selected in Butler and Stanworth. Additionally, a few weeks prior to the application deadline, another reminder was sent to confirm the closure dates. All of this information has been shared with student representatives from the GSG and the residential committees, via focus groups, and at town hall style meetings and sessions over the past several years.

We also offer a clarification on the inclusion of public affordable housing units in the Merwick/Stanworth project. Including this community resource in non-student housing developments is required by ordinance, and the University would not be able to expand its housing for faculty and staff without it. The University has a long history of supporting affordable housing in Princeton, as a founding member of Princeton Community Housing and in other ways. Links to information about eligibility for regional affordable housing are available on the Housing and Real Estate Services website.

William B. Russel
Dean of the Graduate School

Andrew Kane
Director of Housing and Real Estate

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15 thoughts on “OPINION: Letter to the Editor: Apr. 2, 2013

  1. It’s good that William Russel and Andrew Kane took the time to respond to the original complaint, but they do not deny its central premise: that the University is reducing the number of graduate student housing units. Good luck to graduate students finding affordable housing in Princeton. Demand far outstrips supply.

  2. This “argument” is actually just a rehash of the official university memo on the matter, and not an attempt to address the specific points raised in the original letter. Princeton administration loves to repeat the line of “commitment to house approximately 70 percent of enrolled graduate students … far exceeds those of our peers.” What they need to recognize is that Princeton has no rental housing market to speak of. You can either live in University housing (if the gods ordain it), or you have to buy a car and move to a shitty township somewhere outside Princeton. The peers that the administration loves to bring up usually have taken care to foster a market so that affordable and quality rental housing is not lacking.

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