WPI South Village Student Center building

South Village: Additional Residence Halls and New Student Center Open

Community Open House for South Village Student Center, Thursday, September 15, 2022
September 14, 2022
Matthew Burgos

This article is one in an occasional series about the people, offices, and services dedicated to supporting WPI students and our community.

In fall 2021, following the closure of Becker College, WPI leased three of Becker’s residential buildings on William and Sever streets, a ten-minute walk from the WPI Quad, to house 80 upperclass students. Renaming the complex South Village, this year the university expanded its lease through Hampton Properties to add residential space for 136 more students in six houses, and has reopened Becker’s Student Center, on West Street.

There will be an Open House at the South Village Student Center this Thursday, September 15, 2 to 8 pm, featuring a ribbon cutting at 2:30 followed by a cake celebration, tours, E-sports demos, giveaways, trivia night, and other fun. Details are here.

For use by the entire WPI community, the two-story multi-purpose facility includes space for working, learning, socializing, and community building; it features dining space and  a “Smart Market” café; an E-sports lounge; a gaming room with foosball, board games, and game tables; a half-court gymnasium with exercise equipment; one large conference room; and a suite of office spaces with four student hoteling offices, a graduate student lounge, and areas for clubs and students to meet and study. The Student Center is open from 8 am to 11 pm seven days a week during the academic year, and the market is available 24/7 via card access; spaces can be reserved through 25Live.

The building, which WPI is leasing for three years, was left in “almost move-in condition” when Becker closed, said Eric Beattie, vice president of Campus Planning and Facilities, making it a relatively easy transition. “Naturally, there were a number of things we needed to do to align the building with WPI standards," he says, "and we’re excited to officially welcome students and other community members.” Facilities oversaw updates to safety and security systems; configuring gender-inclusive, multi-stall, accessible restrooms; installation of water filling stations and digital screens; and minor renovations. Furnishings have been updated to make the space comfortable. The building is ADA compliant.

“We were particularly pleased that the kitchen and food service areas had been very recently renovated by Becker, which gave us a quick and simple way to provide closer dining options for students living at South Village,” said Emily Perlow, associate dean of students, who also oversees campus dining and works closely with Chartwells, WPI’s food service partner. There is a 160-seat dining hall, similar to Morgan Dining, as well as the 24/7 “Smart Market,” a self-serve eatery providing beverages, snacks, and boxed foods. The Smart Market is accessible via ID card after usual building hours.  Both dining services will be operated by Chartwells.

The campus shuttle loop has been reconfigured to include a South Village stop on West Street near the Student Center, and bike racks are available on Cedar Street. A WPI Blue Light Emergency Phone has been installed on West Street, and WPI Police routinely patrol the area.

South Village residence halls offer students single, double, and triple rooms in nine stately and historic homes, each with shared lounge and community space.