As the University plans its first new residence hall in more than 30 years, LSA freshman Jay Lee is proof of the overwhelming demand for more on-campus living space.
More than 80 students are currently living in residence hall lounges and the Oxford Conference Center, which have been set up as temporary housing until spaces in normal rooms open up.
Director of Housing Public Affairs Alan Levy said it was a combination of factors which led to the overcrowded residence halls.
“Returning students are able to sign contracts for the following academic year and our practice is to not restrict the ability of current students to return. The size of the freshman class is not set until after May 1,” he said.
Levy added that some variables can”t be predetermined when assigning students to permanent housing in the spring.
“Sometimes we have a high cancellation rate and sometimes we have a low cancellation rate Every year the math is different. We could have a slightly lower return rate and the admission numbers could be slightly lower.”
Whatever the reason, some students assigned to temporary housing aren”t complaining.
“People are jealous,” said Lee, who shares a lounge in Markley with two roommates.
“I was expecting it to be bad, but it”s awesome. They said it”s not supposed to be a room, it”s just a makeshift thing, but it”s got everything a normal room would have,” he said.
LSA freshman Alison Momot, who also shares a Markley lounge with two roommates, shares Lee”s enthusiasm about her living situation.
“I love it. We have so much space,” she said. “Everyone walks by and they are like, this is not fair, this is what happens when you turn your stuff in late? But what can you do?”
Momot said she isn”t looking forward to what she called the one downside: the possibility of having to move into new, permanent living quarters. She”s hoping Housing will forget about their promise to find her a real room.
“I really wish we could stay here all year,” said Momot”s roommate, LSA freshman Desiree Withers.
But Levy said it is not likely students in temporary housing will remain in lounges for much longer.
“September 5, according to the terms of the residence hall contract, is the date that students have to claim their space,” Levy said yesterday. “Every year we have a certain no show ratio.”
Rooms that have yet to be claimed will be first given to students temporarily living in the Oxford Conference Center. After those students are placed into permanent rooms, students currently residing in residence halls “swing” rooms will be transferred out.
Momot said she considers herself and her roommates lucky to be living in improvised housing.
“It”s got a little bit of air conditioning and more space. It”s a little bit further away from the bathroom, but that really doesn”t bother me,” Momot said. “It”ll pay off.”
To remedy the problems caused by a second move, the University will be providing students with help when they are switching rooms.
“We certainly don”t expect parents to return to do another move-in,” Levy said.
To further ease parents” concerns, students assigned to the temporary housing were also given a discount in their room and board fees.
However, the problem can be expected to arise again in the future. Although a new residence hall on Central or North Campus is currently in the planning stages, there will not be an automatic surplus of space.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the new hall will not immediately alleviate the space crunch but will instead be used to replace residence hall rooms that are out of commission during renovations that are scheduled to happen in upcoming years.
“They are going to be renovating the existing halls and you can imagine that renovating while people are still living in them is not an efficient way to do it,” she said.
Levy said the new hall is expected to be roughly the same size as the Couzens or Stockwell residence halls.