Makers of the master plan talk back

We have been pleased to see such extensive coverage of and comment on the College’s draft master plan, but it is important that we correct some misinformation we read in the articles and editorials published in The Signal.

We are grateful for the interest the campus community has in the long-term planning of the College’s physical plant. As we stated in both forums on the topic, the plan is flexible and we are seeking feedback from the campus community. The faculty senate, staff senate and student government organized these forums expressly for sharing the master plan and getting feedback. For this reason, we think the student initiative to take up a petition against the master plan is unnecessary. Instead of the petition, we encourage anyone in the campus community who has an opinion on the master plan to send us his or her comments at faccmcs@tcnj.edu.

We acknowledge that the Brower Student Center, athletic fields and student recreation needs are not yet included in the planning efforts. Some of this was an oversight that we happily will remedy. Some of this was by intention, so that proper consideration could be given to developing needs and direction in student life.

As for the inaccuracies, The Signal’s editorial states that the tennis courts will be moved to accommodate a new dormitory. That is incorrect. We have no plan to move the tennis courts within the 15-year time frame of this master plan. The presentation simply noted possible options for future building space. Additionally, the plan does call for an expansion of upperclass housing on campus, contrary to what was asserted in the editorial. The 1,104 upperclass beds will increase to approximately 1,300 over the course of the master plan. In the editorial, concern is expressed about the condition of Bliss Hall now and for the next 14 years. Bliss Hall was completely renovated seven years ago and will continue to receive routine repair and maintenance until another renovation is warranted. The editorial also lamented “perpetual construction” at the College. This construction activity is necessary to ensure a safe and reliable infrastructure, repair of existing facilities and creation of space for new programs and initiatives. Construction on campus should be viewed as sign of vigor and growth.

The contention that the plan is driven by the need to be frugal and save money is completely false. Broad-based working groups and steering committees guided the master plan process and advanced the plan that best addressed the College’s mission and priorities.

The steering committee met after the forums and will continue to meet to consider the feedback we receive and direct changes to the plan. We will start shortly on a programming effort for the Brower Student Center. We intend to meet with the Department of Athletics to begin to understand its needs. We are investigating issues in the Recreation Center and Packer Hall and will consider how we can address deficiencies in these facilities. We are re-analyzing lecture hall use and occupancy to address the concern about the lost teaching space once the Forcina Wing is demolished.

Finally, we are preparing several documents outlining the feedback we have received, our response to the feedback and our next steps, and will post these on a campus Web page for review and continued comment by the campus community.

We want to thank the campus community for its interest and feedback.

Lynda Kane Rothermel

Campus Architect and

Director of Planning

Curt Heuring

Vice President for Facilities Management, Construction and Campus Safety

Housing complaints lack a solution

Complaining about not getting housing and having to go through the waitlist and such red tape is one thing; complaining about inequality in housing is another.

Matt Hammond’s article (April 4, “Dorms, housing lottery need to be reformed”) is both impractical and to put it bluntly, stupid and idealistic. How would you like to pay for the “renovations” that would make students happier and less jealous of those living in residence halls deemed “nicer” than others do. How about the College raises tuition a few thousand dollars in order to meet the plan of equalizing all of the dorms?

By the time students reach sophomore year, most will realize that living with someone you enjoy will make you happier than living on carpet or with air conditioning.

There will be the few that will be stuck with roommates who will blast Hawthorne Heights at 3 a.m., but the majority will enjoy the experience of living with a roommate they probably selected, over the fact that they do not live in Decker or New Res.

How can residence halls all be equal? How is this practical at all? We cannot destroy all the residence halls and put up communes to satisfy those who got a lottery number that registers on the Kelvin scale.

The housing lottery may not seem fair to some but honestly, is anything fair? Next, you will be complaining about the terrible class scheduling time you will have.

Be happy that all sophomores have housing and that you will have a roof over your head come August. Be happy that you have number 54 and are probably living in one of the “better” dorms. You do not have to be the voice of the voiceless. Just shut up, take your number and register for good housing.

Brendan Roche