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Renovations cancel Oxford Fall ’14 program

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Courtesy of Rebecca Chaplin.

The Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) in Oxford will not operate during Fall Quarter 2014-15 due to renovations on the Stanford House.

The total construction project will include a remodeling of student living spaces, adding a classroom large enough for all of the students in the program and creating disability access in the facility, according to Irene Kennedy, executive director and vice provost of BOSP.

Kennedy said the renovations will cost approximately $4 million and will be funded through general funds from the facility’s reserve. She added that the last renovation to the Stanford House was done 30 years ago.

“It’s simply time to refresh and replace again,” she said.

The renovation project will likely begin a day after students in the Spring 2013-14 program depart from Oxford and end before the start of winter break in 2014, according to Kennedy.

“We were looking for the minimum impact on students,” she said. “The other option would have been [to start during] spring quarter, but we weren’t ready to launch the project at that point.”

However, Kennedy said the main reason for choosing to renovate during fall quarter was that it allowed a six-month construction period because of the summer break.

She said BOSP began reviewing general contractors for the renovation this week.

Towards the end of the program, a few students in Oxford last spring gathered with officials to discuss the possibility for the renovation project. Many, like Tyler Haddow ‘14, agreed that the Stanford House was in need of some renovations.

“The access to disabled students is important,” Haddow said. “I don’t know what they would have done if a disabled student had studied abroad there. There was no elevator; it was hard to get in the house.”

However, Haddow did not think that all the renovations are necessary.

“I was actually not sure why we really needed a room in the house that fits all the students,” he said. “I think that there was one, maybe two times when all of us gathered in one place.”

Robert Mata ‘14, who also participated in the Oxford program last spring, thinks the newly released information on the renovation project appropriately echoes what was discussed abroad.

“It sounds pretty much consistent with what we were saying was going to happen and what we said should happen,” Mata said. “The renovations seem great. They will only build on what has already been sort of a characteristic Oxford experience.”

Applications are currently being accepted for the Stanford Program in Oxford for Spring 2013-14.

Contact Brittany Torrez at btorrez ‘at’ stanford.edu.