A sneak peek of the renovations underway in the convent

Last night, Deans Shollenberger and Martinez attempted once again to gather community input on the fate of Columbia’s newest residential acquisition, the former St. Hilda’s House convent on 113th.

Seeing as Bwog and Spec were joined by no less than two legitimate voices of the “community,” the event was less a conversation and more a private screening of some fancy architectural mockups with pretty pictures; also, an opportunity for Bwog to gather some much-needed intel for the coming housing season:

  • The new residence hall boasts an equal number of singles and doubles, housing a total of 78 students
  • In case you couldn’t do the math, that’s 26 singles and 26 doubles
  • At least 5 different individual Special Interest Communities (SICs) of 8-16 members each will call the building home
  • The hall will likely be organized under a guiding theme such as Creativity & Innovation (member SICs might include Writer’s House, a performing arts group, ADI, etc) or Global Issues (cultural, social justice and religious groups)
  • This theme will be decided by the end of the semester, along with the details of the application process
  • The application process will be adapted from the existing SIC application process and will be open to new and existing SICs
  • Dean Martinez mentioned potential student involvement in the selection process
  • The application process for this residence hall will not be open to Greek organizations
  • If an existing SIC with a brownstone moves into the convent, that now-vacant space may or may not be opened to Greek organizations, depending on the space in question
  • Due to the relatively large student population, there will be a security guard at the residence hall’s entrance
  • The total interior renovation is on schedule, despite delays due to Sandy and NYC inspection regulations
  • There will be wood floors in individual rooms, with carpeting in floor common areas
  • Entry level common area features wood floors, and really nice tile in the “cellar” a.k.a. basement
  • There is a large multi-purpose room in basement, which can be arranged as a dining hall or lecture space, and it will likely have portable (not permanently installed) A/V equipment such as a projector, screen, and microphoned podium
  • The basement also features a full kitchen, allowing for a partial dining plan with shared, building-wide meals perhaps once a week
  • In case the above luscious amenities weren’t enough, the cellar also houses a bicycle storage room, laundry room, and computer lab
  • Also: Wi-Fi
  • There will be two RAs in the building, as well as a faculty or staff member-in-residence in an apartment on the first floor

The current plans for this extremely enticing new living space will open up more of the most desirable residence hall space (read: EC townhouses/suites) to the lottery, while maintaining and extending the valuable Special Interest Community program. It remains to be seen how this new building will affect the ongoing struggle for space between SICs and Greek Life.

Holy digs via Wikimedia Commons