This year Bates is filled with new and exciting changes. We welcome the class of 2020, whose members come from a whopping 38 states and 30 countries, we study in the new Academic Resource Commons, a revamped study and help center in Ladd, and we embrace the improved health center; now with more comprehensive services and longer hours.

But, perhaps the biggest change of all is the presence of the new dorms at 55 and 65 Campus Avenue, two four-story buildings connected by a common green space, across from Chase Hall. 65 Campus also includes the new locations of the school bookstore and package center.

According to the June 29th project update, following the completion of the concrete floors at 65 Campus and the steel structure of 55 Campus, project coordinators predicted the new dorms would “create a vibrant community, relieve overcrowding, and be a visible and welcoming new presence along Campus Avenue.” This is also part of an effort to organize the campus more logically, with the Academic Quad, Chase Hall, and Dining Commons situated in the middle of campus, while the residences encircle these buildings. True to its name, Campus Avenue now seems more like a major campus entrance.

A Bates sophomore, Emily Bruell, says that although she chose to live in a house in order to have a different experience, upon seeing the new dorms, especially their innovative attempt on combining modernity and comfort, she thinks they would rival the comfort and homey feel that Frye Street houses offer.

Emphasis has clearly been made on fostering dorm communities in these buildings, as opposed to simply creating spaces for students to sleep and house their belongings. Some exciting features include 55 Campus’s modern lounge area on its ground floor along with a kitchen, game room, and fireplace, also located on the same floor. The lounge is warm and bright, with large windows providing ample viewing opportunities. There are plenty of “study areas,” throughout each dorm, filled with comfortable furniture, as well as a common space called “The Treehouse,” on the top floor of 65 Campus which boasts “panoramic views, an exposed ceiling and casual furnishings,” perfect for lounging, socializing, or late night exam cramming.

Lisa Lefeber, a JA living in the new dorms, when asked whether she likes living there, commented “I guess I would say that I love that the new dorms are built to foster communities. Every floor has multiple common spaces where students can hang out and talk, watch TV, or do homework. As a JA, I really appreciate it– I can already see the positive effects on my floor community.”

The new dorms are also very environmentally friendly, one example being the various rain gardens. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, rain gardens absorb water in order to mitigate the risk of storm water runoff, which can carry pollutants, reduce water quality and increase flooding. Water will also be more available to nearby plants as opposed to being uselessly washed away.

Perhaps a new component of the dorms that affects most students on campus is the relocation of the college bookstore and the package center, now referred to as “Post & Print.” Overall, this change has been eagerly anticipated and welcomed as students were seeking a more functional, efficient, and central place to pick up and mail packages.

Gabriella Shpilsky ‘19, expressed that the new locations of the store and package services, are “really spacious and visually pleasing” and that she used to dread having to go to the package center because it felt “stuffy and packed.”

So, next time you are looking for a place to study or hang out, consider spending time at 55 or 65 Campus Avenue. You will not be disappointed.