New “Trial and Error” Dorms Opening in Puxi

OCA Managing Editor Steph Bailey reports on the announcement of a new residence hall opening in Puxi.

Last week, NYU Shanghai Residential Life announced they will be opening a new residence hall in the Laoximen neighborhood in Puxi, beginning Spring 2018.

The project was announced in a student-wide email as a response to the growing student body and increasing needs of the community. NYUSH will be leasing the bottom four floors of an apartment building on the corner of 西藏南路 (Xizang Nan Road) and 复兴中路 (Fuxing Zhong Road) from the vendor BASE China. The space will have a “co-living” design and mimic a university residential hall.

At capacity, the BASE building will add 52 rooms (99 bed spaces) to available housing options at NYUSH. However, the upcoming spring semester will be treated as a “pilot” run and will house around 65-75 students. The email confessed this will be “trial and error.”

“There was a need that presented itself. Study away numbers started rolling in and we wanted to turn it into an opportunity that will be positive for the student experience,” said Eli Berk-Rauch, the Assistant Director of Residential Life.

One of the main assets of the new dormitories is the location. Currently, NYUSH dorms are located in Jinqiao in Pudong, so the BASE living space presents the first opportunity for students to live in Puxi, the more historical and cultural part of the city, whilst still residing in university accommodation.

“We looked at a number of different spaces and were balancing what we heard from students. We didn’t look specifically for a residence hall in Puxi, we just wanted more variety, but students had expressed interest previously,” Berk-Rauch explained.

Although the specific address is yet to be specified, the hall will be “on top” of the 老西门 (Laoximen) metro station (line 8, exit 1), which is five stops (with one transfer) away from the Century Avenue campus. They will be approximately a fifteen-minute walk from 新天地 (Xintiandi), a shopping, eating, and entertainment district, and relatively close to People’s Square.

“The real epicenter of people in Shanghai is not in Pudong. I think the best way to experience Shanghai and take in all it has to offer is to live in Puxi, so I’m really glad the school finally has an option for underclassmen to capitalize on, in my opinion, the better, more lively part of the city,” sophomore Isabel Adler said.

However, enthusiasm to move across the river has been diluted by a lack of specific details. Students have been invited to apply for the new housing, with a deadline of December 5th, without any photographs, floorplans, or a list of exact facilities.

Berk-Rauch confirmed that all the information NYUSH is privy to has been passed along to students, but whilst the building is largely completed, there is still construction within the interior. “I, like many students, had some mixed reactions regarding the new dorms. Seeing housing options in Puxi is certainly something that we’ve always wanted — since we spend most of our time outside NYU Shanghai there anyway — but at the same time many of us are worried they might not be the ideal option,” sophomore Yaman Maarrawi said.

“At least not until the administration fully supplies the new housing with Jinqiao’s communal services, such as the bus and the resource center. We don’t have much information, nor do we know anyone who’s been there before, so jumping in first seems a little risky,” Maarrawi added.

So far, Residential Life has confirmed that the new building will have double and single rooms in a “loft” style in groups of two people. “The experience will be on a level with the apartments,” Berk-Rauch said, referencing the projected similarities with the apartments currently offered in the Green Center Towers in JinQiao.

However, Berk-Rauch also expressed the community “will certainly be different” and “there will be a certain amount of disconnect with people living “on-campus”.” Although, there will be RAs and programming like ‘The Series’ which will continue to be open to all students.

The BASE rooms will also be the same price as the Green Tower apartments, although the communal options in JinQiao are significantly cheaper. Each room will have a private bathroom and television, and each floor will have a kitchen and living room. There will be no shuttle bus service and students will have to use an NYU off-campus VPN.

“We are not 100 percent sure about the package service,” Berk-Rauch said, adding “the truth is we have provided all the information we have at the moment, but we are still working with the vendor.” Thus, students applying to be housed in the Puxi residence halls will have to wait for in-depth information and trust the space will be a standard they are expecting.

A big uncertainty is what will happen to housing over the winter break for those who hope to transition from Jin Qiao to the BASE halls. “We are still working out the specifics,” Berk-Rauch said, noting that spaces needed to be ready for spring and so students cannot take up two spaces at once. Therefore, “students will be provided with an accommodation option over the winter or a storage option within reason.”

Residential Life are looking to use the BASE residence hall as a future housing option for NYUSH students and their decisions will not yet be impacted by the new campus.

The deadline to submit a request to be housed in the BASE residence hall is December 5th. Once students are approved to move they are bound to the new space.

This article was written by Stephanie Bailey. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Maya Williams

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