Stockwell Residence Hall, an all-female residence hall named after the University’s first female student, could house men, too, as soon as 2009.

In an effort to address an excess of all-female housing, University officials are considering making Stockwell, slated to close this summer for a construction project, open to both male and female students when it reopens in Fall 2009.

Peter Logan, communications director for University Housing, said in most years only 240 students request rooms in all-female dorms – far fewer than the 800 spaces the University has to offer each year.

As a result, the University ends up having to fill the remaining 560 spaces with other students, even if they haven’t asked to be put there. That causes some of the other co-ed dorms on campus to be more heavily populated by males.

No decision has been made yet about whether to make Stockwell co-ed. Logan said officials will make that decision after they gauge student interest in the new plan. But so far, getting input from students hasn’t been so easy.

Housing officials have been holding forums for months trying to garner student opinion on the issue, but haven’t received much feedback.

Logan said just one person attended a presentation at Stockwell explaining the plan about two weeks ago. Other presentations like that one have drawn similarly low turnouts at other residence halls.

Logan said housing officials have made presentations to more “captive” audiences like executive board members from the Michigan Student Assembly, the Residence Halls Association and representatives from the Women in Science and Engineering program. Housing officials told the student groups that the 68-year-old dorm would only be open to students with sophomore standing and higher if it becomes co-ed.

LSA senior Elizabeth Reeths, an RHA executive board member, said her group seemed to like the plan, especially given the prospect of a sophomore learning community.

Reese said some RHA board members had concerns, including the locations of the bathrooms. If the floors were mixed with male and female students, she said, the bathrooms could be a long walk down the hall for one sex or the other.

When asked how housing officials would accommodate needs of male students like urinals, Logan said University Housing would only address those concerns if it ultimately decides to make the dorm co-ed.

The renovation scheduled for this summer will redesign Stockwell’s bathrooms, add air conditioning and provide new lounge spaces – all things that housing officials hope will entice students to live in the dorm.

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