Campuses find need to expand

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    TCU is not the only campus in the nation spending money to renovate the campus to fit student needs, said the Residential Services director. Craig Allen, Residential Services director, said the housing shortage issue is a common problem on college campuses as student populations continue to increase.

    Allen said the University of Texas at Arlington, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University are all adding or have recently added new residential halls to accommodate students.

    “Everybody is building like crazy, and it is based on student demands,” Allen said.

    The number of incoming freshmen at TCU has increased from 1,514 in 2001 to 1,610 in 2005 according to the 2005-2006 TCU Factbook.

    Allen said universities are not only building to add more housing but also to create a more residential campus, which is one of TCU’s goals for the $100-million Campus Commons project.

    Both upperclassmen and underclassmen students who were interviewed around campus said they would live in the new dorms if they could.

    Shaylyn Joseph, a senior nursing major, said living in the dorms her freshman year was a memorable experience.

    “You really feel connected and get to know a lot of people in the dorms,” Joseph said.

    Jamie Small, a sophomore psychology major, said she would live in the new dorms as an upperclassman mainly because of the large amount of space and the suite-style living they will provide.

    According to the Fall 2005-2006 TCU Factbook, 46 percent of undergraduate students lived on campus for the 2005-2006 school year, a number, Allen said, TCU hopes will increase with the completion of the new dorms.

    About 17 percent of students live on campus at UT Arlington, said Eric Leidlein, UTA assistant director of management and services and housing.

    Leidlein said UTA has spent $43 million on residential hall renovations and $34 million for on-campus apartments since 2000.

    “We’ve been really aggressively adding student housing since 2000,” Leidlein said.

    Robin Williamson, associate director of administration for TCU Residential Services, said most college campuses across the nation experienced a growth in population and campus size in the 1960s, and many campuses have not renovated since then so residential halls and buildings are outdated.

    “College campuses are as strong of a sense of community as you will get,” Allen said, “and residential campuses increase that feeling of community. There is a national trend toward understanding the value of having students live on campus.”

    Wes Waggoner, director of freshman Admission, said TCU’s community-based campus is an important aspect of the school, and the new residential halls will only increase that feel.

    “When you live on campus, you are more tied together as a community,” Waggoner said.

    Allen said TCU has always been a residential campus, but as the school has grown, residential halls have not expanded accordingly, and it has become more common to live off campus.

    “What the chancellor decided was to return to that residential campus TCU has historically been,” Allen said.

    When TCU’s renovations are finished, the school will be geared toward being a constant learning environment for students, Allen said.

    He said he envisions dormitory floors designated as specific learning communities, such as a global living community or a nursing community where faculty members and organizations hold discussions on a specific subject once a month.

    Allen said this idea is similar to Moncrief Hall, which currently groups honors students together on separate floors and athletes on another. He said the new residential halls will be slightly different because these subject-specific floors will be open to all students who are interested in living there.

    “This new community will be a supported learning environment where students and faculty will interact regularly,” Allen said.