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Amherst College to house some students at apartment complex

The college has entered into a one-year lease with Alpine Commons, 133 Belchertown Road, in which 16 units will be occupied by rising seniors in good academic and disciplinary standing, said college spokeswoman Caroline Hanna.

The four-bedroom, two-bath units typically rent for $2,624 per month.

Hanna said this is a temporary situation for lodging that is about a mile from the campus and that the college remains committed to housing all of its students on campus.

“Traditionally 98 percent of students live on campus,” Hanna said.

In fact, the normal limit is for 50 students to live off campus each semester.

While the college has enough rooms and beds on campus for the entire 1,817 enrollment, the decision was prompted by the work on the $200 million science building and concerns that some students might be uncomfortable living in dormitories near it, Hanna said.

“We have enough spaces on campus for students to live,” Hanna said. “This is another housing option because of the construction of the science center this summer.”

The students who live at Alpine Commons will still pay the $11,650 for a full-year room and board and the portion of the complex they will be living in will be treated as an extension of the campus. This includes having one of the units occupied by a resident counselor and having campus police regularly patrol. All college policies related to behavior will apply there, she said.

Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone said he doesn’t envision any problems at Alpine Commons from college students living there, adding his department has a good relationship with Amherst College police and its chief, John Carter.

“I don’t anticipate any problems at all. I’m not concerned a bit,” Livingstone said.

Students interested have until Friday to submit applications and then go through a process in which references will be reviewed by residential life staff.

Hanna said this is similar to the process already used to decide whether a student can live off campus.

Though using 60 beds off campus comes at a time when Amherst officials are discussing the pressure of student rentals on neighborhoods and the rental market, Hanna said she expects the impact to be minimal.

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