Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Housing blocks for David Kemp, the almost-completed new dorm, was assigned in the most recent housing committee meeting. The new dormitory will include five new block options. Tours of the new dormitory will be held in late March or early April.
Kemp offers a variety of block options intending to appeal to a range of students. The first floor will offer two two-room singles, which is ideal for seniors who want to live with a friend but have singles. The second floor will have a four-person block made up of two doubles and a four person block made up of four adjacent singles, catering to rising sophomores and possibly seniors respectively. The third floor will offer a four-person block of two doubles, which is another great option for rising sophomores.
The choice of the blocks is based on the orientation of Kemp in relation to its sister building, Alice Paul. “One thing that is important to understand is that the whole building is actually two separate buildings,” explains Derickson. Since Kemp is the smaller building, it has more singles and therefore may attract more upperclassmen. Alice Paul and David Kemp are also connected by a lounge space on a bridge, on the second and third floor.
The first floor does not connect the two buildings and the housing committee has yet to decide whether this will affect how this floor is used. Since there is only one bathroom in each wing, there is some possibility that the hall maybe gender-neutral.
Cara Arcuni ’09, a member of the Housing Committee, concurs that the specifications of David Kemp’s first floor require more thought. If the first floor was made gender neutral, she said, “this would be the first time freshman rooms would be on a gender neutral floor. It’s an issue that still has yet to be decided and probably will be made at a higher decision making level than the housing committee.”
Arcuni observes that David Kemp is “both really awesome because it’s a completely different building from anything that we have but also creates really unique challenges for both R.A.s and residents.” The housing committee is carefully considering these factors. Arcuni pointed out that the floors provide a balance of class years with the selected blocks intended to foster community through careful spacing.
Several provisions have been made to meet the requirement for students with special needs and disabilities, such as a room on the first floor with space for a live-in attendant. The size of the dorm rooms will be comparable to the rooms in Alice Paul, although there will not be any lofted doubles. Since Alice Paul and David Kemp were intended as sibling dorms, the red lounge will serve as a central lounge for both dormitories (David Kemp residents will have keys that allow entrance to Alice Paul) and the courtyard between the two (currently under construction) will also be used as a common area.