UNB’s Off-campus residence, Maggie Jean Chestnut (MJC), is unlikely to open its doors in the near future.
MJC was a relatively small residence located downtown, about 15 minutes off-campus. The residence was inside an old Victorian mansion and could host fewer than 30 students at a time. First opened in 1949, the residence closed in 2015 because of structural issues.
“Due to issues with the facility and the costs associated with running and maintaining Maggie Jean Chestnut, it was decided to not operate it as a residence in 2015-16 to allow for a review of the facility,” said Natasha Ashfield, communications officer at UNB.
Shortly after the closure in 2015, UNB began going through a Residence Capital Renewal Process. Ashfield said that this will result in a plan that will outline the long-term plans for residence upgrades at UNB. The plan is expected to be complete and approved sometime this winter.
While many had hoped that this would be a temporary closure, it is unknown if the residence will ever reopen. Although the mansion is no longer serves as a dormitory, part of it is still in use by UNB’s Renaissance College.
“Some of the residence space, that used to house approximately 20 students, is being used by Renaissance College for teaching and learning. Since there is adequate space within UNB Fredericton’s other residences to house those who would like to live in residence, there are no current plans to reopen Maggie Jean Chestnut,” Ashfield said.
Many students at Renaissance College chose to live in MJC during their degree because of its close proximity to Renaissance College, a faculty at UNB.
Although MJC may not reopen, its current Facebook page is now devoted to alumni keeping in touch. The quaint residence became home to numerous students throughout its years of operation.
Renaissance College alumna and former MJC resident, Hannahbelle Weaver, remembers the residence fondly. “MJC was a small residence, so it was like having a little family away from home. Since there was only 13 or so of us, we really got to know each other, and since there was no meal plan, we got to cook and have communal meals all the time. The residence itself was quaint and cozy.”
The residence was named after Maggie Jean Chestnut, a well known member of the all-female UNB Alumnae Society, created in 1910—a time in the university’s history when female graduates’ interests were not considered a priority. Althhough co-ed from 1979 until the time of its closure, MJC was previously an all-female residence, converted by the Alumnae Society.