More than three decades after the
completion of Bursley Residence Hall, the University has finally
set a date for the completion of a new residence hall. Frustrated
by years of delay, members of the University Board of Regents have
been pressuring administrators to speed plans to revamp the
University’s housing system. According to the proposals,
housing officials aim to break ground in 2006 with the construction
of a pseudo-apartment residence hall that will be completed by
2008. Along with the new hall, Mosher-Jordan and Stockwell Halls
will undergo renovations on heating and plumbing facilities, as
well as elevator repairs. These relatively limited plans to improve
the University’s unimpressive housing system are far too late
in coming.

On-campus housing this year was far from perfect. Many incoming
freshman, who should have the opportunity to live in a residence
hall community with other freshmen, had to live in Oxford Housing
and at Northwood because of the record number of new students. This
troubling situation will continue or get worse with the renovations
of Stockwell and Mosher Jordan. Each hall will be closed for the
entire year, further limiting housing during the construction. This
will also be difficult for families living at Northwood, as they
will be overwhelmed by freshmen.

Although there is little doubt that the renovations are badly
needed, other halls require significant upgrades as well. West
Quadrangle lacks an elevator for disabled students and move-in
convenience. Many of the rooms in residence halls across campus do
not have running water, hardly an unreasonable luxury for students.
Every residence hall room on campus should have running water.

Since 1967, when Bursley was built, most of University
Housing’s activity has been limited to fix-it jobs on toilets
and sinks. The aesthetic nature of the University has slowly
deteriorated with many residence halls becoming dilapidated on both
the inside and outside. Because of the poor condition of housing,
it is more difficult for the University to recruit prospective
students.

Thankfully, the new residence hall will cater to upperclassmen.
More upperclassmen wish they could live on campus, and at other
universities, they live in university housing if it meets their
needs. University Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster
Harper’s desire to mix upperclassmen and underclassmen in the
dorms is commendable; however, it is important for the University
to improve the quality of its residence halls for underclassmen and
upperclassmen alike. Building a new dorm for upperclassmen will be
more profitable for the University, as it will attract more
students with on-campus housing options, but it will not improve
the housing for younger students.

The plans also aim to improve the quality of on-campus dining
services. This change is badly needed by the many students who
characterize the food served at the residence halls as
unappetizing.

Current projections are that the entire project could cost
between $250 million and $280 million. These high costs must not be
passed onto students in the form of tuition increases. The
University should have begun these changes long ago. Administrators
allowed the residence halls to deteriorate, and students should not
have to pay the consequences in higher costs and fees.

These improvements must be speedily implemented, along with a
much more drastic overhaul of the housing system.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.