South cottages to disappear with new athletic plans

By Taylor Uggla

As the college prepares to renovate the campus athletic facility and both the softball and baseball fields, project planners expect to tear down or remove three campus cottages lining Macalester Street on the south end of campus.

The softball field, currently on Shaw Field, will take up the space currently occupied by the cottages. Construction on the field will begin in the summer of 2007. In order to complete this plan, the cottages will only be available as living spaces to students for the fall.

Moving the softball field to this location will allow for a larger green space on what will remain of Shaw Field after builders complete the new athletic facility, Director of Facilities Management Mark Dickinson said. In addition, having both baseball and softball fields on the south end of campus is a more logical arrangement, with both fields located in the same area.

“We do not have firm plans yet for the arrangement; this is what we will be working on in the next year,” Dickinson said. “The distances of fences and things like that are still being calculated.”

Dickinson said he and other planners do not want to simply tear down the cottages and are exploring alternative options, the most popular being to move the cottages and donate them to a charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. If this option is unavailable, the college will tear them down but salvage what they can.

“When the existing fields were created, we moved four houses out and tore down several others,” Dickinson said. “It doesn’t have to be all one way.”

Lauren Morse ’08 will be living in one of the cottages next semester.

“I think the Habitat for Humanity idea is really good,” she said. “It seems like a great way to utilize the cottages—otherwise it would just be a waste of a perfectly good house.”

As the college moves or scraps the cottages, Macalester will be losing some popular on-campus housing.

However, according to Associate Dean of Students Jim Hoppe, additional housing options will be available in the long term, as designated by the campus Master Plan released last fall.

“We tried to work toward the best interest of the Macalester campus as a whole, and have also put forth an effort to serve the community,” Hoppe said. “In the long term, we will have spots in the campus plan that will allow for more apartment-type living situations.”

Several students planning to live in the cottages next semester are rising juniors planning to study abroad in the spring, and will not have to worry about finding new housing for the spring semester.

“I am very excited about living there next year,” Katherine Hall ’08 said. “If I don’t get accepted to study abroad I will just move into a quad in [George Draper Dayton Hall]. I’m not too worried about it.”