TCU will continue building campus housing until student demand is met, Chancellor Victor Boschini said.
The university's Board of Trustees committed last year to building a dorm every year until student demand for housing is met. In an email to students at the beginning of the semester, Boschini said the university is hoping to become a 100 percent residential campus.
“We are saying 100 percent, but when we look at other schools like Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt found that about 91 percent really was where their demand stopped,” Boschini said. “There is always going to be probably 10 percent of students who, for very valid reasons, won’t live on campus.”
Long waiting lists for housing prompted the focus on more dorm space, he said.
Last semester, about 350 juniors and seniors and about 150 sophomores were on the waiting list after filling all the dorms, Craig Allen, director of Housing & Residence Life, said. The housing department worked through the summer to get all sophomores into rooms.
“That was really nerve-racking for us,” he said.
The number on the waiting list does not show the total number of students who would live on campus. The housing office receives hundreds of housing inquiry calls from students who do not apply because they are told the chances are very slim, Allen said.
Two new Worth Hills residence halls will be open for the fall semester and should create enough spaces to house the students who ended up on the waiting list last year, but Boschini said he is confident demand will still be high.
The housing department currently leases 220 beds from the privately owned GrandMarc apartment building to house the overflow of sophomores and will continue to do so until demand is met, Allen said.
On-campus housing is a worthy goal because living on campus means students are safer, more involved and supported, Boschini said. He said he lived in dorms for six years – four as an undergraduate and two as a graduate student.
“It probably biased me toward [on-campus housing] because I saw so many of the good things, like living with people I didn’t think I liked and learning to like them,” he said.
The basketball game against The University of Kansas was a perfect example of on-campus involvement, Boschini said.
“[Daniel-Meyer Coliseum] was half full at the beginning, but everybody was tweeting everybody saying, ‘Come on. We are going to win,’ and by the end, there were people standing in the isle,” he said. “That would never have happened if it wasn’t easy to get there because you can’t park anyway during the game. So a lot of people just walked over.
“I laughed when I was walking back from that to my car. I was looking at Moncrief Hall, and I could see all the lights go back on in Moncrief as people were going back in,” he said.
New residence halls and increased population on campus will require accommodation and changes from other college services, Boschini said.
More students mean longer dinning times and greater access to academic buildings after hours, Boschini said. The college will continue reviewing police and security measures to ensure students stay safe.
Space will be the biggest issue as new dorms are built, Boschini said.
“We have really had to think creatively about that, and to be honest, we don’t have the answer on that,” he said.
The college has about six years worth of land for dorm building and renovations before it will need to purchase land, Boschini said.
As for the students who do not want to live on campus, Boschini said he supports their decision.
“You’re getting other experiences that they don’t get,” he said. “It’s a trade off.”