Housing Guide: Upperclassmen Housing

Fairfax Apartments

Location: 4616 Fifth Ave., near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Craig Street
Styles of housing: Apartments — one-bedroom (two students) and efficiency (two students); the Fairfax Annex has two-bedroom apartments (three students)
Size: 272 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: In each apartment and efficiency
Lounges: Community room in basement with limited availability
Other amenities: Laundry room and aerobics room in the basement

The Fairfax Apartments are an excellent transition for upperclassmen to living in off-campus housing. Once acquainted with back-alley shortcuts, it’s a quick 10-to-15-minute walk to campus, and the building’s proximity to S. Craig Street, which houses many restaurants that are open late at night, make it appealing to many college students.

Inside the individual apartments, every room is carpeted, except for the kitchen and bathroom, which have tiling. The walls, conveniently, are solid — a welcome change from the paper-thin dividers that separate rooms in some on-campus housing. Fairfax is also relatively quiet, although every now and then, a group of happy, shouting people may break the silence. The rooms are furnished and come prepared with beds, tables, and drawers. The kitchen has a stove and refrigerator. Some units even have dishwashers. Air conditioning and heating are included, as well.

Bus stops for the 54C, 71 series, and 75 are also located close to the building’s doors.

Laundry payment may be the largest problem students have with Fairfax. Doing laundry requires that students first buy a $5 card to pay for the machines. The card does not actually come with $5; students must input money manually, and the machine accepts only bills.

In addition, Fairfax’s Internet connection uses Comcast rather than Carnegie Mellon’s Internet. Finally, the cost of living is one of the highest at Carnegie Mellon, but Fairfax’s amenities and its location may justify some of those expenses.

Doherty Apartments

Location: On the corner of Forbes Avenue and Beeler Street
Styles of housing: Apartments — one-bedroom (three students) and efficiencies (two students); a two-bedroom suite for special-interest housing
Size: About 150 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: In each apartment and efficiency
Lounges: Study lounge, TV lounge
Other amenities: Lounges include a piano, pool table, and ping-pong table; laundry facilities include six washers and six dryers; exercise facilities include four cardio machines and dumbbells.

Located close to campus facilities, Doherty Apartments is a good option for on-campus housing. It is a three-minute walk to the Resnik Café and 10 minutes from most classes. Doherty is a solid option for students who wish to have their own kitchen in an autonomous apartment style of living.

Doherty is divided into four separate towers, each headed by its own RA, who provides his or her residents with essentials: trash bags, paper towels, and, of course, toilet paper. Each tower consists of three floors and a basement.

As a community, there are weekly events to satisfy your sweet tooth and appropriate exercise programs to sweat off the day’s regret. However, due primarily to the tower layout of the building, making friends in Doherty can be more difficult than in other housing options.

Doherty Apartments provides air conditioning only in its exercise room. However, the heating system was upgraded recently.

The rooms provide a mix of privacy and integration with roommates. The one-bedroom triples include a bedroom for the three beds, a bathroom, and a living room with a kitchenette. The living room also has three study desks, a dining table, a couch, and a small loveseat. Two-person efficiencies are similar, though everything is located in a single room without some of the furniture.

Doherty Apartments provides a decently-sized living area for those who seek autonomy in college life.

Margaret Morrison Apartments

Location: On Margaret Morrison Street, beside the Greek apartments
Styles of housing: Apartments — two-floor, two-bedroom (four students)
Size: 80 students
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: In each apartment
Lounges: One near the storefronts

Margaret Morrison Apartments, located on the Hill, offers residents on-campus apartments. Each unit has two floors, with a lounge and kitchen on the first floor and bedrooms and bathrooms either up or down a floor, depending on the apartment. All of the “Maggie Mo” apartments were redone in 2007, when they were refitted with new furniture, appliances, and countertops.

The bedrooms are some of the biggest that you will find on campus. Each apartment has a kitchen, which is nice for upperclassmen tired of campus food.

Additionally, each of the apartment units is separate from the others.Residents also have access to laundry and exercise facilities, which are on the street level of Margaret Morrison Street.

Starting next academic year, Margaret Morrison apartments 131 and 132 will be a 16-person “Sustainability House” which is accepting applications for residents.

Although the common areas may be a bit tight, “Maggie Mo” can offer residents the chance to have independence while still living on campus.

McGill House

Location: The Hill — across the courtyard from Boss, in front of Hamerschlag
Styles of housing: Prime singles and prime doubles
Size: 71 residents (female only)
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: One on the first floor
Lounges: One per floor, and one main lounge on the first floor with a study lounge
Other amenities: Laundry room

McGill, Carnegie Mellon’s only all-female dorm, offers residents prime doubles and singles arranged into suites. Each suite connects two doubles, or two doubles and one single. Rooms in McGill are small, so residents are often forced to loft their beds. However, the size of the rooms is offset by the convenience of semiprivate bathrooms in each suite.

McGill may be one of the smaller dorms, but residents’ social lives are certainly not limited. McGill offers a friendly environment, especially since residents can socialize in any of the individual floor lounges or in the large first-floor television room and study area.

Weekly events bring together residents from both Boss and McGill and offer a reliable dose of fun and entertainment. Also, if residents tire of their own building, they are just a few steps away from other Hill residences.

McGill’s location on Margaret Morrison Street, like the other Hill residences, make it exceptionally convenient to a number of locations. Residents can catch art exhibitions, shows, and events at The Frame, Carnegie Mellon’s student-run art gallery on the corner of Forbes Avenue and Margaret Morrison Street.

A short walk across the street, residents can take advantage of the nearby campus dining locations, including Tartans Pavilion, the Carnegie Mellon Café, and the Zebra Lounge. When campus food gets too monotonous, the food trucks parked nearby offer a great alternative to on-campus dining.

Morewood Gardens

Location: Corner of Forbes and Morewood avenues
Styles of housing: Prime singles, prime doubles, prime triples; one six-person and one 10-person suite reserved for special-interest housing
Size: 455 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: Three, one on the second, fourth, and sixth floors
Lounges: Two lounges per floor
Other amenities: TV room, quiet study lounge, computer cluster, workout facility, recreation room, and two laundry facilities at opposite ends of the building

While students of most residences have to pull on their shoes and head to campus to find a hot meal or a working printer, Morewood Gardens residents need not leave the premises. Fully equipped with a computer cluster, a source of convenient (albeit greasy) food at The Underground, large laundry rooms, and a gym, this dorm is completely self-sufficient. And what’s more, it’s smack at the corner of Morewood and Forbes Avenues, only a couple of steps away from campus.

The dorm’s proximity to campus gives it a significant edge over other residential areas. This factor maximizes your sleep time before early classes and also allows you to sprint back for your homework when you realize you’ve left it in your room.

While both Stever and Mudge houses are located on Morewood Avenue, they normally house only first-year students, making Morewood the only choice for older students who want to live in this area.

Morewood’s plentiful lounges, including a few on each floor in addition to the larger study rooms and TV lounge on the first floor, allow for frequent group gatherings. While this is a positive attribute for more social students, it means that several rooms on each floor are likely to experience frequent noise disturbances throughout the day and night.

When choosing a room in Morewood, it’s hit-or-miss. Some rooms are spacious and quiet, while others are small and loud. It’s the luck of the draw, and sometimes you lose. Try to plan out which rooms look best from the floor plans online, and try to visit a room before committing. This will give you a good idea of what you’re getting.

Morewood Gardens could be a great place to live, but before deciding to move in, check out the rooms ahead of time and ask the current residents about the noise situation, as some rooms are better than others.

Neville Apartments

Location: 617 Neville St., at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Neville Street
Styles of housing: Apartments (six-occupant apartment with single and double bedrooms)
Size: 24 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: In each apartment
Lounges: One common basement, four living rooms

The Neville Apartments are a living community through the Carnegie Mellon housing system, comprised of eight apartments that feature a mix of double and single bedrooms. Previously a co-op, Neville is now a traditional apartment living situation.

Neville apartments contains fully furnished bedrooms and living spaces, with each of the four apartments containing two bathrooms. Additionally, each apartment has a mix of single and double rooms, as well as two kitchens containing a stove and refrigerator. The basement contains laundry facilities and a student lounge, and students will have to purchase their Internet service from Comcast.

This switch back to apartment-styled housing is a new shift, as Neville had been run as a housing co-op since 2003. The co-op was created based on the tenets of sustainability and environmental awareness, activism, and equality in race, gender, and sexuality.

Residents who had applied for admission were encouraged to participate in various events hosted by the current members of the co-op during the room selection period.

Neville Apartments will not be application-based housing, but can be selected through the standard university housing selection process.

During its time as a co-op, Neville had no RAs, instead using liaisons to the Housing and Student Life offices who would help the co-op solve housing problems. However, with the transition to apartments, this is unlikely to remain the case, as current Carnegie Mellon-affiliated apartments make use of the RA system.

What kind of community Neville will have after its co-op days has yet to be seen, but the building and space will remain the same as it was.

Roselawn Houses

Location: Roselawn Terrace (off Margaret Morrison Street)
Styles of housing: Three-bedroom houses (one single, two doubles)
Size: Five students in each of 12 houses
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: One in each house
Lounges: One in the common Margaret Morrison space and a living space in each house

The Roselawn Terrace houses, located off Margaret Morrison Street, are some of the most sought-after housing options on campus. Roselawn is located on the edge of campus, providing students with a feeling of independence while still only having to walk less than 10 minutes to get to class.

Each house, divided into a single-occupancy room and two double-occupancy rooms, holds five students. The bedrooms are quite small — so small, in fact, that one of the doubles can’t hold both residents’ desks. The upside to this is that the living area on the first floor is spacious.

Living rooms have hardwood floors and comfortable furniture. Each dining room has a large table that seats six by a wall of windows. Kitchens have been completely refinished with new cabinets and appliances. All the walls in the houses have been given a fresh coat of paint with vibrant accent colors.

One downside to the Roselawn houses is that residents no longer have access to the basement, cutting down on the storage space previously offered. The rooms also have closets that tend to be too small for most people’s wardrobes.

In addition to the large living spaces offered in Roselawn, residents have access to the Margaret Morrison lounge and exercise room. All Roselawn residents are also on the campus laundry network, getting free laundry and access to laundromat-style dryers.

Another good thing about Roselawn houses is that, while there is more than enough living space, the cost of living in the house is less than the cost of living in some Oakland apartments.

Roselawn houses offer the feeling of living on your own, while still providing residents with the amenities and assistance of campus housing. If you don’t care about the size of your bedroom, Roselawn is the place to live.

Shady Oak Apartments

Location: 601 Clyde Street
Styles of housing: Apartments — efficiency (two students), two- and three-bedroom
apartments (three students)
Size: 82 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: One in each apartment and one in the basement
Lounges: One in the basement with multiple couches and a big-screen TV
Other amenities: Street parking available and a spacious backyard with a grill

Shady Oak, located on Clyde Street, contains apartments each boast a full kitchen complete with an electric stove and oven, as well as a dishwasher. The layouts vary greatly from apartment to apartment, with some having single bedrooms and no common living space, others having shared bedrooms with spacious living rooms, and others having a combination of the two.

There is a lounge in the basement with numerous couches and a big-screen TV; this space is commonly used for watching sporting events and hosting study groups. Basic gym equipment is also located in the basement. For students who want to keep an active lifestyle and don’t get enough of a workout from the 10-minute walk to campus, there are multiple treadmills, an elliptical trainer, and a weight-lifting station.

The basement is also home to four washers and four dryers — not on the campus laundry network and accepting only quarters — and a large table for folding laundry.

Venture outside to find a picnic table and charcoal grill that is always available. The backyard is large enough to play a game of Frisbee or football with friends. Across the street, there is a bus stop for the 71C, which can be taken to Downtown to watch a show or to East Liberty for a date at Target.

There are some drawbacks to living in Shady Oak. The plumbing has a tendency to malfunction, sometimes causing pipes to burst, leading to water shut-offs. The radiators have also been a cause for concern: They are set on a building-wide timer that can sometimes shut off in the middle of the night or be set on full blast on warmer days.

Woodlawn Apartments

Location: At the corner of Forbes Avenue and Margaret Morrison Street
Styles of housing: Apartment — one-bedroom (two students), two-bedroom (four students), and four-bedroom (seven students)
Size: 35 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: One or two full kitchens per apartment
Lounges: TV lounge and exercise room, shared with Margaret Morrison Apartments
Other amenities: Two washers and two dryers are in the basement. The Frame, a small student-run art gallery, is also located on the first floor.

Woodlawn Apartments may be one of the older housing options on campus, but it is convenient for walking to class, and it’s right on the Forbes Avenue bus routes that can take you anywhere else that you’d like to go.

The bedrooms and living rooms both boast plenty of space, a definite upgrade for those used to sharing cramped quarters. Some rooms have hardwood floors; others have thin carpeting. The building will be undergoing renovations this summer to upgrade the wiring and fixtures in addition to installing brand-new bathrooms.

Several times per semester, The Frame art gallery, which is housed in the first floor of the apartment building, has loud parties that can be heard throughout the building.

Woodlawn Apartments is great if you want to live with a big group of friends, since each apartment houses a lot of people. Woodlawn is also a good choice if you want a small community and are looking to live in an apartment on campus.

West Wing/Resnik House

Location: Adjacent to Gesling Stadium, next to the University Center
Styles of housing: Suite — typically five students share a common living space and bathroom
Dorm — prime singles and prime doubles
Size: 296 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: Two in West Wing, two in Resnik
Lounges: West Wing all floors, Resnik all floors

Resnik and West Wing are the ideal dormitory choices for students who aren’t ready — or aren’t willing — to move off campus but want a bit more of a grown-up place to live in than a typical dorm. While students in these dorms have the chance to be more independent, they also boast a quick walk to any of the academic buildings on campus, a definite benefit for those mornings when you just can’t stop hitting the snooze button.

Both dorms consist primarily of suites, which are made up of two doubles and a single with a common bathroom and lounge for the suite. A limited number of prime singles and doubles do exist in the buildings as well, though they are not as well known.

Resnik and West Wing are optimal for a group of friends who wish to live together but want to maintain their proximity to campus and the other advantages — like free toilet paper and a once-a-week bathroom cleaning — that living on campus offers. Students mostly stay inside their suites, leaving the hallways relatively quiet. The lounges do fill up, however — usually with groups of students either working on homework or playing video games.

Both buildings offer kitchens on certain floors, which is nice when you’ve had your fill of The Exchange and El Gallo de Oro. If you don’t feel like cooking, Resnik is home to a number of dining options. There is the Tartans Pavilion, the Carnegie Mellon Café, and Resnik Café. In particular, Resnik Café offers a variety of choices, including sushi, Indian cuisine, and comfort foods, among others.

With the numerous amenities that Resnik and West Wing offer, it is not surprising that both of these dorms fill up early in the room selection process. Hopeful residents are advised to find a friend who can pull them in.

Webster Hall/Shirley Apartments

Location: 101/103 N. Dithridge St.
Styles of housing: Apartments — one-bedroom (two students) and two-bedroom (three students); prime singles
Size: 273 residents
Room retention: Yes
Kitchens: One in each apartment
Lounges: None, but each apartment has a living area
Other amenities: TV room, quiet study lounge, workout facility, recreation room, and two laundry facilities at opposite ends of the building

Webster Hall, located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and North Dithridge Street, is a popular off-campus residence offered by Carnegie Mellon. Webster is located in the heart of Oakland, about a 10-minute walk from campus. One of the first stops on the Carnegie Mellon shuttle line, Webster offers easy access to the numerous restaurants, cafés, convenience stores, and shops located in the Oakland area.

Carnegie Mellon rents out one-bedroom apartments to two students, and two-bedroom apartments to three students. The apartments are spacious and offer many benefits that dorm rooms do not, including a fully-furnished living room, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. For many students, this escape from typical dorm life is the basis of Webster’s appeal.

In addition to the spacious apartments, students also benefit from the facilities offered by Webster. The building contains a gym, a homestyle deli, and even an in-house hair and waxing salon. Additionally, each floor has a trash-disposal facility and a laundry room.

There are, however, some small disadvantages. The laundry facilities can become a hassle for many residents. Using the facilities can become expensive, with a cost of $2.50 to wash and dry one load of clothes. The dryers on most floors are not fully functional, often requiring two full runs to completely dry clothes. For many students, this is one of the biggest complaints about Webster.

An additional point for consideration is the price. Renting apartments in Webster can be costly, but like Fairfax Apartments, its location and perks may justify the price.

Shirley Apartments, located next door to Webster Hall, contains a floor plan similar to Webster’s floor plan. Each apartment has a bedroom, a living area, and a kitchen, while the efficiencies are essentially rooms with a bathroom and a kitchen. One downside of Shirley, however, is that it is one of the farthest living spaces from campus.

Welch House/Henderson House

Location: Behind Scobell House, on Margaret Morrison Street
Styles of housing: Prime singles and prime doubles
Size: 83 residents
Room retention: Yes, except for non-single rooms on the first floor
Kitchens: One on the lower level in each building
Lounges: TV lounges and study areas in both buildings

As one of the more recently renovated student dorms on campus, Henderson House is a clean and quiet place to live. This dorm offers students air conditioning and heating, connected bathrooms — which are cleaned once a week — shared with one other room, and the intimacy of a small building, with 20 rooms per floor. The first floor is generally reserved for first-years only.

Accepting residents by application only, Henderson along with McGill are considered “Wellness Houses,” because they promote green practices, maintain a substance-free lifestyle, and generally encourage healthy living. Each student who lives here is expected to sign an agreement promising to adhere to these standards during the school year. Students can also take advantage of playing for the house’s intramural teams or participating in weekly optional community activities set up by the resident assistants. Tickets to special events like plays or shows are subsidized by the dorm, which is a nice perk.

Henderson, although placed on the outskirts of Carnegie Mellon, is sheltered from any traffic or noise from campus. The dorm’s residents also respect an unwritten policy of peace and quiet, which makes this dorm ideal for studying.

Despite all Henderson has to offer students, there are drawbacks. Dorm rooms are not the largest, and on occasion the heating will malfunction, overheating many of the rooms.

Welch is one of the Hill houses, but it distinguishes itself by having a 24-hour quiet rule. This often means that Welch attracts students who prefer to keep to themselves and are less interested in creating a community atmosphere. However, the atmosphere seems to suit students who want a comfortable home and don’t want to be distracted by noise. The rooms are large and bathrooms are spacious.