Housing Assignment Process


A Little Bit of History
One of the defining characteristics of RMBL is its funky buildings. We have 3 buildings from the founding of Gothic in 1880, two buildings from an attempt to revive mining in 1914, and numerous buildings constructed after the founding of RMBL in 1928. Seven buildings have actually been designated historic: Town Hall (1880, renovated 2003), Swallows Nest (1880, renovated 2004), Mammal Lab (1914, renovated 2004), Ore House (1914, renovated 2005), Barclay (1935, renovated 2009), Richards (1930, renovated 2011), McLeod (1936, renovated 2013). These cabins have been designated at the county level and are not on state or federal registrars of historic buildings. In the 1970s an application was put in to design Gothic as a historic district, but the State of Colorado was not interested. We are thinking of designating some more buildings as historic. A building has to be 50 years old to be eligible. Many of our existing structures will be replaced, but RMBL is committed to maintaining representative structures from each of the various eras and styles.

Housing and Fees
There is a wide variety of both cooking and non-cooking cabins. You can view cabin descriptions and fees here. Other fees can be viewed here.

Seasonal Aspect of Field Station
During the shoulder seasons, only some of our cabins are available, due to constraints of our heating and wood stove regulations. Some of the cabins will not be available in the early and late summer season due to lack of heat, which will result in RMBL having to move users into different cabins during this time. The following cabins will not be available until further notice outside of the window of June 1 – August 24 without dispensation from the Director of Operations: Beanpod, East River, Paradise, Pelton, Porcupine, Schofield, Swallow’s Nest, Sylvanite, and Virginia.

In addition, conditions permitting, our non-winterized water lines will be turned off in the town site in the beginning of September. On that date, all remaining Gothic Users will be required to move into a cabin that has water availability, such as Maroon, Rogers Boggs, Richards, Gates, or Calder (space permitting).

This impacts the rate you are charged. If you request a lower priced cabin, and we have to bump you up into a higher level cabin due to availability, you will be charged the level you requested in your application. If we don’t have the lower rate cabin available due to seasonal constraints, and we have to bump you up to a higher rate cabin, we will charge you the lowest rate that is available at that point in the season. Be sure to know what rate level of cabin you request as you will typically be charged at the rate level you requested. If we can’t place you in exactly the cabin you requested, we try to place you in a cabin of similar price level if possible and then you will be charged at the rate level that you requested.

Date Changes
Each summer we house a lot of people. With turnover associated with short-term stays, the total number of people who will live in Gothic at some point during the summer typically reaches 180 people. It’s a lot to keep track of! You can help us by notifying our Administration Office (office@rmbl.org) in the Willey Lab of any changes in your dates. Please don’t assume you can stay longer than scheduled. We may have someone coming into your cabin the day you are scheduled to leave. You can change your dates once for free, but after that there will be a $25 processing fee for each additional change of dates affecting the period between June 1 and August 24.

Any date changes that result in a total reduction in length of stay of more than 7 days during the period of June 1 and August 24 will result in a charge of 100% of the lost revenue associated with station fees, laboratory fees, and housing to RMBL (after the 7 days have been subtracted). More details on date changes can be found here.

Upgrading Housing Facilities
We are upgrading housing as fast as we can, though we still have a ways to go.

In the fall of 2019 we have finished construction of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approved cabin now called Crystal. This is a 2-story cabin with 6 ADA spots on the first floor and as many as 8 spots on the 2nd floor. It is located near the Paradise cabin. We will use the cabin in 2020. With the new building we will take down two designated cabins that are either in disrepair or that are located in a wetland zone. We have taken down the old Crystal cabin and are still planning on taking down Porcupine cabin in 2020.

Based upon a review of cabin occupancy prompted by Gunnison County in 2018, we have eliminated the use of lofts for sleeping in cabins listed in a Memo called ‘Changes to Gothic’s Small Cabins with Lofts’ following this handout. The following cabins have been re-configured so that there will be 2 sleeping spots on the ground floor: Bellview, Lead King, Snowmass, and Whiterock.

We upgraded the McLeod Cabin in 2013, Schofield and Forest Queen in 2015 and Whiterock and Sylvanite in 2016. As we build new cabins we will be removing older cabins. Cabins which we tentatively plan to remove in the next several years include: Crystal, Porcupine, Crystal, East River, Enders, Enders Annex, Bellview, Snowmass and Paradise. There is no definite timeline for removal with the exception that Crystal and Porcupine will be removed with the completion of the new ADA building.

If you would like to contribute towards our efforts to upgrading cabins, please contact Kelly Sudderth, the Chief Operating Officer (kelly@rmbl.org). Helping upgrade a RMBL cabin is a wonderful legacy. Even small donations matter!

Cleanliness and Inventory
RMBL is a rustic, high-altitude field station. Although living onsite may be the most convenient, there are certain trade-offs associated with that, including the lack of toilets in most of our buildings. We are making efforts to standardize the level of cleanliness in cabins when residents arrive two weeks after the road opens or later. We will open each cabin and clean surfaces in preparation for arrival. If you have concerns about the state of cleanliness of your cabin when you arrive, please get in touch with the Administrative Office (admin@rmbl.org).

We also ask that you keep your cabin clean throughout the summer. Each cabin has been provided with basic cleaning supplies (broom, dust-pen, spray bottle). Additional cleaning supplies are available for you to borrow from the cleaning shed on the west side of the Johnson Laboratory. When you move out, we ask that you clean your cabin prior to inspection and leave it in as good (or better) condition as you found it. If cabins are left in an unacceptable condition, we will charge you $45 per hour for a professional cleaner.

We are starting the process of inventorying all cabin furniture and appliances to provide a more consistent experience for residents. Please do not move furniture, beds, or other items between cabins without permission from the Director of Operations. You may be held responsible for items missing during your cabin inspection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we decide who lives in Gothic? Each year we set aside 40 housing spots for people participating in our education program. This includes students doing undergraduate research as well as teachers and scientists who have received funding to train with senior scientists. Housing of research teams flows from the lead scientist. The lead scientist submits a research application. Once that is approved, we house the research team onsite, if requested. We also have visiting scientists, alumni, and general visitors that we accommodate as we can.

How do we handle mid-summer housing requests? RMBL operates under a permit issued by Gunnison County. That permit grants us the right to house 180 people onsite at one time. We can’t house more, even if we have an open bed somewhere. If you have a visitor who wants to stay on-site, please submit an Alumni/Guest Registration Form in advance. If we have an open bed that is appropriate for the visitor, and we are not over our limit, we will do our best to provide housing. Keep in mind that they or you will be charged for their stay. Please use your discretion if you get involved in a situation where an unannounced person arrives late and needs to stay. Let us know the first thing in the morning. If we discover unregistered visitors, you can be fined and/or asked to leave. Go to www.rmbl.org/guests for more information and to fill out the alumni/guest application form.

How do we decide who lives where? We take all housing requests received by April 1 and start filling in spots. When we have conflicting requests for cabins, we prioritize long-term residents (see section below), scientists with approved research plans, families, research teams associated with priority research projects (e.g., projects with NSF funding which is administered through RMBL or projects prioritized by RMBL’s Research Committee), and individuals with clearly defined special needs. In 2016 we have updated the Prioritizing Housing Criteria where we identify how we prioritize housing. This memo is located on the Scientists tab on our www.rmbl.org website on the bottom of this page: https://www.rmbl.org/scientists/ Requests that come in after April 1 are handled on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you really care about where you will live in a future summer, do not miss the housing deadline on April 1!

Can you have a long-term housing assignment? We make housing assignments easier for everybody by allowing long-term scientists and residents, under appropriate circumstances, to stay in the same cabin every year. One way this happens is de facto; if a scientist has an approved research plan, has been consistently using a cabin every year, and will be out for at least 8 weeks, chances are they will get that cabin again. Because space is limited, we are careful to avoid using large cabins capable of housing a family for a single person. But as long as space is being used appropriately, we like to leave people in the same place. In the absence of a written agreement, however, there is no guarantee of a particular housing situation, regardless of how long someone has been in a cabin. Housing assignments are ultimately a judgment call by staff and require consideration of a wide range of factors (see section above).

RMBL will formally commit to a right of first refusal arrangement in writing. Such an agreement will provide a guarantee that if a particular cabin is requested to be used by our deadline, usually April 1, RMBL will provide the cabin to that scientist, assuming all of the conditions in the agreement are met. This agreement does not allow people right of first refusal for housing requests made after April 1. While the conditions depend upon the unique situation, they typically involve terms such as use for a minimum amount of time and having an approved research plan on file.

RMBL has granted some exclusive use agreements in the past. These have always been associated with a donation of some type. It is increasingly unlikely that such agreements will be granted in the future. RMBL hopes to increase our operations in the fall, as part of holding down fees. Given our desire to limit the number of buildings, we wish to avoid having too many cabins that cannot be used in the shoulder season because of an exclusive use agreement.

Contact Ian Billick, the Executive Director (director@rmbl.org) for more information about long-term housing agreements.