Dorm capacity insufficient for fall

by Devin Foxall | 7/31/01 5:00am

With an unusually large housing wait list, the Office of Residential Life is in the process of enacting a broad range of temporary methods to ensure all 149 of the currently homeless rising sophomores have housing for the upcoming Fall term.

According to Lynn Rosenblum, director of housing, ORL is creating a list of vacant rooms, increasing room occupancy, converting lounge spaces into dorm rooms and heavily relying on the completion of temporary housing.

"It's a dilemma," Rosenblum said. "It's certainly not a good situation."

This year's Fall housing shortage is "a little more difficult" than previous years, she explained, mainly because of the unexpectedly large number of incoming freshmen.

Rosenblum couldn't say whether everyone currently on the wait list would have housing in the Fall. "Right now, I don't know," she said.

Before the end of Spring Term, Rosenblum sent an email to students on the wait list -- all of which are '04s -- explaining that there would be a change in the way rooms were assigned to wait-listed students.

The email said that Rosenblum would collect vacancies as they occurred during the summer, but wouldn't begin making any room assignments.

Room assignment notices would be sent to students with assignments beginning Aug. 13.

"The reason I did that was so that I would have a reasonable number of rooms available to try and accommodate more student requests," such as the type of room or roommate preference Rosenblum said. "I honestly don't know how that's going to play out," she added.

Currently, the number of collected vacancies in residence halls is 19. There are five openings in affinity houses and spaces are being held in off-campus apartments, she said.

"The worst case scenario would be if we are not able to use the modular units," Rosenblum said. "Then we would only be able to assign 19 students to regular residence hall spaces, and then maybe another 30 or 40 at the most to either the off-campus apartments or lounges and studies. But I don't even want to think about that."

The Office of Residential Life is planning to construct up to six temporary "small houses" which could hold up to 15 students each. The houses will be delivered and constructed beginning Aug. 15.

One option that has and will not be considered is to allow sophomores to live in CFS houses in the fall, Rosenblum said.

A few students have changed their D-Plans to take the Fall Term off, she said. "But I haven't heard that they are doing that in great numbers."

In another attempt to increase the available housing, ORL has offered students assigned to singles rooms for the fall a 50 percent cut in their room rent should they agree to take on a roommate for the term, Rosenblum explained.

"A few people have asked to do that, but in most situations it hasn't been possible," she added.

One year ago, the College also had a sizeable, although much smaller, wait list.

However, the majority of candidates on last year's waiting list eventually found on -- or off -- campus housing.

"I've been talking to a lot of parents of students on the waiting list in the last couple of weeks," Rosenblum said. "People are getting anxious."