Northwestern to replace communal bathrooms, expand Chapin in Master Plan

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

As part of Northwestern’s Housing Master Plan, new residence halls will have suite-style bathrooms instead of communal ones.

Paul Riel, executive director of Residential Services, said future residence halls will either feature single or double suites. Primarily for upperclassmen, single suites will have four individual bedrooms and two bathrooms. Double suites will have two shared bedrooms with a common space that would house the bathrooms, Riel said.

“The change I think is moving away from what are typically called communal bathrooms, meaning you go down the hallway and you have a common bathroom that’s shared by 18-20 students,” he said. “I think future housing for us would involve these suite types of units where bathrooms would be included in the rooms where students are actually living.”

The first residence hall that will feature the new models is planned for the corner of Sheridan Road and Lincoln Street, in the lot formerly known as “Peanut Row.” Peanut Row was demolished summer 2013 and previously housed fraternities including Zeta Beta Tau, Alpha Epsilon Pi and Theta Chi.

Fall 2017 is the expected completion date, Riel said. The new building will serve as “swing space,” as other residence halls are renovated, he said.

“We will decant students out of a space we are going to renovate so we don’t lose occupancy space on campus,” Riel said.

Residential Services’ first project will be to expand Chapin Hall, which will result in tearing down the Music Practice Hall also known as the “Beehive.”

The Housing Master Plan will drastically change NU’s housing options over the coming decades. The changes will add more than 1,000 beds across campus. The University hired Brailsford & Dunlavey, a program management firm, to assist with the plan’s development. 

(In Focus: Northwestern looks to revamp residences with master housing plan)

One component of creating the plan was reaching out to student representatives. Chris Harlow, Associated Student Government’s director of residential life, said Riel and his staff have been very open to student input.

“Residential Services has been very cooperative in reaching out for student opinion,” the SESP sophomore said. “They have been diligent and want to do a good job to make sure this master plan serves the needs of students.”

Harlow said the University is behind many of its peer schools in terms of on-campus housing.

“I’m optimistic about the master plan being something that will really allow the University to provide top-notch services on par with their peers,” he said. “We’re paying a lot to grow and it’s important to feel like we are getting our money’s worth.”

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