Dartmouth College taking steps to build new dorms on Route 10

  • Dartmouth College is looking at building undergraduate housing east of Lyme Road at the Dartmouth golf practice course and at Garipay Field. (Courtesy Dartmouth College) Courtesy Dartmouth College

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 10/29/2021 9:24:18 PM
Modified: 10/29/2021 9:24:29 PM

HANOVER — This time, Cole Cutting hopes they really mean it.

His family opened Cutting’s Northside Cafe more than 13 years ago north of the Hanover Public Safety Building on Route 10, expecting that Dartmouth College was going to build a housing complex for faculty and staff on nearby, which would have provided a steady stream of customers all day.

“That was one of the points of us starting up here,” Cutting said Friday from behind the counter. “But it never happened. Kind of a bummer.”

But now it looks like the Dartmouth campus will be expanding north along Lyme Road, aka Route 10. The college this week said on its website that it is looking at the “near-term need to construct undergraduate housing” on the east side of Lyme Road where the varsity golf practice facility is located, and at a nearby field, and relocate the practice area “somewhere on the west side of Lyme Road.”

And with Dartmouth also weighing the development of the former Hanover Country Club golf course to build a series of academic and administrative buildings and graduate student housing, Cutting is again excited.

“It would be nice to see something positive come this way to drive up business,” Cutting said.

Earlier this year, Dartmouth unveiled a revised master plan that envisions potential expansion of the college campus 1 mile north of the Hanover Green along a stretch of Lyme Road running from the Dewey Field parking lot to the former country club and college-owned Rivercrest parcel.

The core of the proposal is a “spine” of buildings set in a park-like setting and recreation area that would hug the west side of Lyme Road and accommodate academic and administrative functions in addition to a complex for graduate student and professional student housing.

But the undergraduate dorms appear to be a more pressing need, and land surveying and soil sampling are starting this fall. Beyer Blinder Belle Architects will also look at “potential transit and infrastructure work that may be needed” for the Dartmouth-owned land along Route 10, the college said, with an updated development plan expected by next spring.

Lack of housing for undergraduate students at Dartmouth has been a long-standing issue, although the college traditionally managed the situation by relying upon a portion of students studying abroad and having sophomore students reside on campus during the summer to free up dorm space for the other classes during fall and winter.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, turned the housing crunch into a housing crisis as students were unable to study abroad and many remained in Hanover, leaving close to 100 undergraduates on a waitlist this summer. Although the undergraduate students were eventually housed, the panic brought to the forefront the shortage of dorm space that will remain when the pandemic subsides.

“As we brought students back this fall we saw that there was a real need to expand our thinking in how we deliver housing for our undergraduate population,” said Josh Keniston, vice president of campus services and institutional projects at Dartmouth. “We started looking at opportunities where we could expand and how we would do it.”

As possible sites for undergraduate housing, Dartmouth has identified an area currently used for a variety of sports activities on the east side of Lyme Road across from the golf course and just south of the traffic circle adjacent to the Hanover Co-op Market. The land is utilized as practice area for the college’s golf team as well as two soccer fields that are popular with Nordic skiers in the winter.

Set back farther to the east is the Dartmouth club rugby team clubhouse and two rugby pitches. The north portion is known as Garipay Fields and the south portion is set aside for golf practice areas, including a driving range.

“Undergraduate housing is our near-term need right now,” Keniston said, explaining that development along the west side of Lyme Road as detailed last summer is “longer-term,” at least five to 10 years down the road.

Keniston declined to estimate how many undergraduate students the college estimated it would be accommodating at the north campus but said “we know the need is out there for several hundred beds.”

Nonetheless, he said, “we view this area as a development that honors the outdoors,” explaining that if built it would incorporate the location’s tradition as a sports and recreation area.

The next step, to begin later this fall and winter, is for Dartmouth to begin getting feedback from area residents to bring their concerns into the process, Keniston said.

“A big part of what we will be doing over the next few months is meeting with neighbors,” he said.

Reaction about Dartmouth’s plans for the area from neighbors and visitors at Garipay Fields on Friday ranged from resignation to disappointment.

“It is what it is and out of our hands,” said Pierre Fordy, a Norwich antique restorer who comes to Garipay Fields several times a week because of its wide-open, flat turf. As much as he enjoys running there, “I can always find another place to run, although it’s hard to find flat land around here.”

“I think it’s a shame. Once the land is gone, it’s gone,” said Kathy McQueen, of Thetford, who was at Garipay Fields to walk Mocha, an 11-year-old dog she cares for.

McQueen, who grew up on Greensboro Road in Hanover, said the area has always been a popular cross country ski field since she can remember.

“I hate to see this happen,” she said.

Up on Rip Road, where many houses overlook the golf practice area and residents can hear the body-slamming grunts and shouts of rugby players, Amy Mancini said, “I do feel for the college kids” who are far from home and can’t get dorm space, but she would be “really bummed” if the recreation space were no longer available.

“We cross country ski, run, walk our dog there,” said Mancini, a mother of three school-age kids who can access the athletic fields through a path in the woods below their home, which her family has come to appreciate even more in the pandemic.

“But I do understand the need” for student housing, she said.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

Sign up for our free email updates
Valley News Daily Headlines
Valley News Contests and Promotions
Valley News Extra Time
Valley News Breaking News

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy