A long-term effort to provide new housing options for Middlebury Institute students has achieved a major milestone with the opening of the first residence hall in the school’s 66-year history.
Middlebury President Laurie Patton, Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson, Monterey mayor Clyde Roberson, and other local officials celebrated the new MIIS-operated, 89-bed facility at a November 9 open house that included a reception and small group tours of the building. The new facility is located at 787 Munras Avenue in downtown Monterey.
“With the addition of student housing, the Middlebury Institute becomes more accessible,” said President Patton, speaking to a crowd of faculty, staff, students, friends, and supporters of the Institute. “Access is the number one pillar of our comprehensive campaign, and this is a perfect example of what we mean by creating more accessibility.”
Originally built for commercial offices in 1971, the building at 787 Munras Avenue was thoroughly remodeled prior to its opening to students in September. The repurposed two-story, 26,000-square-foot structure features two single units for on-site resident assistants and 87 beds for students, most in single-occupancy rooms, with a few doubles and triples. Each floor includes a large kitchen and seating area, study rooms, an outdoor terrace, and common areas with walls that can be moved to configure the space as needed. Residents also have access to bicycle storage and 64 parking spots.
“This is a major step forward for us,” said Dayton-Johnson. “With the housing market tight and the need for flexible housing options continuing to grow, this project became the right opportunity at the right time. This allows us to house students enrolling in a variety of different types of programs at MIIS, while creating new off-campus spaces where students can study and collaborate.”
“MIIS has a really big international student body,” noted second-year MA in Conference Interpretation student Lina Lyn, who is serving as a resident assistant at 787 Munras. “In the past, many international students had to pay a deposit on an apartment before even setting foot in the U.S. Having a school-managed residence hall really provides a sense of security, and also helps foster a student community.”
The new facility provides a housing option that is available to full-time master’s degree students, Middlebury College undergraduate students participating in Monterey-based programs for a semester or academic year, and non-degree-seeking students who enroll in shorter programs or courses. “We’re excited about the possibilities that this may open up for new kinds of students to come to Monterey for programs with varying lengths and residency requirements,” said Dayton-Johnson.
Local officials attending the open house included Mayor Roberson, Councilmember Ed Smith, and City Manager Hans Uslar; California State University, Monterey Bay President Eduardo Ochoa; and Old Monterey Business Association Executive Director Rick Johnson. Uslar spoke of the “strong partnership” between the city, Middlebury staff, and the project’s developer, Kirchhoff. He also noted that the City of Monterey often tries to hire MIIS students and graduates, calling the students “first class.”
In a recent article about the new residence hall in the Monterey Herald, Roberson praised MIIS as “a model for providing housing for its students. … Congratulations to (the Institute) for showing the way to take care of its people.”
Commitment to Sustainability
The project also served to advance Middlebury’s institutional commitment to sustainability, by renovating an existing structure close to campus while adding design features that exceed the highest environmental standards in California. Improvements made during the renovation process include the following:
Replacing the HVAC and electrical systems with highly efficient systems for heating, cooling, and electricity,
Installing double-pane windows that are highly efficient and Energy Star compliant,
Upgrading the building exterior with continuous air sealing and insulation, and
Outfitting the roof with a solar photovoltaic array to offset electrical usage.
The partial closing of Pierce Street, and a new sustainable landscaped area in front of the Casa Fuente building mark the completion of the first stage of the Middlebury Institute’s plans to create a more pedestrian-friendly central campus space.
Welcome Week at the Middlebury Institute saw the school’s fall 2021 class of 330 students from 33 countries get to know the Middlebury Institute both virtually and in-person through a range of sessions and activities designed to give each student the tools they need to be successful at MIIS.