University sees more residential life in future

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    As part of TCU’s Vision for the Future, the university foresees meeting student demands to become a 100 percent residential campus in the next 10 years, according to an email sent by Chancellor Victor Boschini.

    Craig Allen, director of housing and residential life, said it was important to remember that this was “not a promise to house every student but a vision for the future.”

    He said currently hundreds of students are turned away who want to live on campus and based on that he expects demand to grow in the future.

    “This is a vibrant and exciting place to be a student, to live and learn and grow and housing is just one piece of that,” he said.

    He said approximately 50 percent of students are being housed on campus and with the additions in Worth Hills that percentage could increase to 66. The GrandMarc, although privately owned, is also included in the on campus bed count.

    Plans that are underway include two buildings in Worth Hills  [a]will together hold 400 residents, which students should start to see take shape next year and finish up by August 2013.

    Allen said he foresees a total of eight new buildings in the Worth Hills Area as well as accommodations for new and old Greek chapters.

    Boschini said, “In general Worth Hills is going to become a really great hub for all students to live in, to eat in, and to play in.”

    The Greek Village Project will be set in motion by January 2013 and renovations for Colby Hall will be made according to Boschini’s email.

    Kevin Lauck, a freshman business major, said at a certain time students should have the ability to move off campus, but if improvements were made to Greek housing he would consider staying.

    Instead of renovation, Allen sees the current Greek housing as well as the Bellaire condos being torn down in years to come.

    The loss of these older facilities, as well as new building accommodations and current student overflow housing make it hard to determine the exact amount of housing that would be needed to complete this goal, he said.

    There are limitations on building height and so he expects the new facilities to hold anywhere from 150-300 students, he said.

    He said the first buildings to go up in Worth Hills are designed to be suite style with improvements made from the Campus Commons.

    As the university progresses into further phases of construction, he sees mostly apartment style buildings like Tom Brown-Pete Wright apartments in the works. This would cause students to move from dorms to suites to apartments through each academic year.

    Allen said the Worth Hills projects will most likely last through the next 6-8 years, and from there the direction housing will expand is unknown.

    Additional housing would also bring more leadership opportunities through residential assistants, he said. Although he predicts the process for RA selection will still be very competitive.

    Briana Saldana, a senior criminal justice and psychology major, is currently an RA in Foster Hall. She said “Being able to go back to a first year hall and sharing my experiences has been really rewarding.” She said she thinks having four year housing for everybody would be convenient and beneficial to students.

    In comparison to campuses such as Vanderbilt, which has a full time undergraduate residential requirement according to their website, he said TCU may not need the requirement.
    When the university first required sophomores to live on campus in 2006, he said they received complaints from parents and students. By 2009, he said students were being turned away who wanted to live on campus.

    He said as far as on campus housing “by building what people want to live in, that’s all we need to do to keep it full.”

    Andrew Austin, a senior sociology major, said the decision is different for everyone. Although he said he enjoyed his two years on campus, people may want to leave campus to avoid restrictions and gain more privacy.

    The vibrancy of student life mentioned in Boschini’s email, Allen said, includes involvement in communities such as RHA, theCrew events, and Greek life that draw people to campus. He said “Our vision for the future is that we are going to continue to do those things and maybe more.”
    Kelsi Schatz, a freshman criminal justice major, lives in Milton Daniel and said it is easier to get involved by being around on campus activities.

    Although he can’t say for sure what the next ten years will bring, the residential experience he said is sure to remain an integral part of the university.