Overcrowding remains an issue this fall

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    More than 20 students found themselves still living in residence hall lounges Tuesday, and university officials say the overcrowding issue may not be resolved until 2007 when a new residence hall opens in Worth Hills.Robin Williamson, associate director of Residential Services, said there are students living in the lounges of Brachman, Clark, Colby, Moncrief and Wiggins halls.

    “We make sure that they all have the same furniture, Internet and cable as any other regular dorm,” Williamson said. “Some even have their own kitchen, and in the Clark lounge the students have Micro Fridges. Our main goal is to make the students comfortable.”

    The rooms are also under the same safety precautions as the rest of the hall, and they all have the adequate amount of smoke detectors, she said.

    Chase Gentry, a freshman marketing major, lives in the Clark lounge with two other students and said he is comfortable living in the lounge.

    Some students, such as Gentry, really like the lounges and do not want to move out. They are larger in size, and the students are also paying a discounted amount for their housing bill, said senior kinesiology major Mary Power, a resident assistant in Colby.

    Williamson said the discount varies from hall to hall, but said in Colby, a standard double dormitory costs $2,037, and the students who are living in the lounges are paying $1,500.

    Although living in a lounge may sound appealing to some students, it is not for others. Leslie Keeling, a sophomore anthropology major, was assigned a lounge in Colby with three other sophomores. She has now been reassigned to a dorm in Wiggins.

    “It was really cramped with four girls at first, and we didn’t even have anywhere to hang our clothes, or a sink to brush our teeth and fix our hair,” Keeling said. “I am just glad I don’t have to live there anymore.”

    RAs living in double-occupancy rooms will now be assigned roommates to get students out of lounges. Each RA is given a choice of his or her roommate, Williamson said.

    Sophomore education major Ryan Hambley, an RA in Clark, lives with a roommate.

    “I am really pleased with the situation, and living with a roommate doesn’t bother me,” Hambley said.

    Power explained that students living in lounges were informed by e-mail that they would be living in a lounge before they came to school. She said it was not a surprise.

    The deadline to receive a 100 percent housing cancellation refund was Tuesday, but students may write the university a petition e-mail to receive 50 percent of their advanced housing payment.

    “All the students who are currently living in the lounges are on the wait list for housing, and as students who have dorms on campus drop, the students will be moved from the lounges,” Williamson said.

    The way each student is chosen is determined by the amount of time they have been on the wait list. The first students on the list will probably be moving soon, Williamson said.

    If students are not comfortable living in the lounge, they may check to see where they are on the wait list; if they will be in lounges longer than they anticipated, they may change their housing plans and move off campus.

    “Luckily we are not having to house students in hotels like we have had to do in the past,” Williamson said.

    “The overcrowding issue on this campus will hopefully get better with the addition of the new dormitory being built in Worth Hills. We are hoping to break ground by December 2005.”