SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 28, 2013

Salem State to build modular housing

Demolition of old library will begin in two weeks

SALEM — Buildings will be rising and falling over the next few months at Salem State University.

Just as the college prepares to demolish its old library, it is making plans to erect temporary modular housing that will be ready by the start of the fall semester.

A college official announced yesterday that they are about to seek proposals for a three-story modular building on the main campus for about 100 freshmen.

The temporary building is needed because of the growing demand for housing by students applying to Salem State, the official said. Currently, the two freshman dorms are bursting at the seams.

“Peabody and Bowditch residence halls are at 124 percent” of occupancy, Vice President Scott James said at a meeting last night of a neighborhood advisory committee.

The overflow of freshmen on campus has forced rooms that are normally for two students to become triples and pushed some students into another dorm.

Adding more students to the rooms has not been an insurmountable problem, James said, because Salem State has “the largest rooms in the state university system for that type of residence hall.”

In preparing for next year’s freshman class, the college decided to lease a modular dorm for three to five years to accommodate the growing numbers of students who want to live on campus.

Two years ago, about 60 percent of freshmen lived in residence halls. This year, that figure climbed to 70 percent.

James also updated the neighborhood group on plans, which were announced a few weeks ago, to build a 300-350-student dorm. At the time, college officials did not announce where it would be built. Last night, James filled in some of the blanks.

“We are currently looking at two locations,” he told neighbors.

The possible sites are the university police station on the central campus and a parking lot near Peabody Hall on the main campus.

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