Student Housing Problem Is ‘Temporary’

By Katie Beth Nichols

The Razorback Reporter

 

Forty incoming UA freshmen came to the University of Arkansas without campus housing because of record freshman enrollment.

“There are currently 26 students in temporary living situations, but nine will be moved to permanent solutions this week,” said Christopher Spencer, assistant director for Marketing and Strategic Communications for University Housing.

“In general, oftentimes they really enjoy living in study rooms and petition to stay there,” Spencer said.

In the rare case of students living in temporary housing for the full year, they would not have to pay the same amount as a student living in a regular dorm room, Spencer said. For example, a Yocum Hall resident would pay $6,388 for a year, but $3,194 in temporary quarters.

This is a perennial problem because of record UA freshman enrollment since 2009. This fall, 60 fewer degree-seeking freshmen enrolled than the fall of 2017, but enrollment continues to hover around 5,000 students, making it difficult for the university to house all of them in addition to nearly 1,000 returning students who live on campus this year.

The U of A is getting new housing, the Stadium Drive Residence Halls. The dorms are projected to house 708 students and could have plenty of space for students to get acquainted with university life. The hall will accommodate students who have similar interests; they’ll reside in what officials call a living-learning community. Recording studios, project spaces and other amenities are perfectly suited for disciplines such as architecture, art, theater, music and computer programming.

In addition to the community aspect of the hall, the Stadium Drive Residence Halls are being built using a process called cross-laminated timber, a more sustainable option than the customary materials used to build similar residence halls such as concrete and steel.

“We just don’t see that sort of material on large buildings,” Spencer said. “This is new for Arkansas and new for the United States.”

With the building of the Stadium Drive Residence Halls, two of the older housing options, Buchanan-Droke and Gladson-Ripley will be closed. These two halls house a total of 202 students, creating a net-gain of 506 beds when the Stadium Drive Residence Halls open in the fall of 2019.

Freshman Allen Amuimuia is one of the male students in a temporary living situation at the university. Amuimuia lives with two other roommates in a room that is normally a study room in Humphreys Hall.

“I was originally going to the Air Force Academy for football, but after two weeks there I decided to transfer back down here,” Amuiamuia said. “I guess because I came so late I got pushed to the bottom of the housing list.”

When Amuimuia arrived to move in, he was informed that he would not be living in a traditional room. He said that he has not experienced many issues with living in the study rooms.

“The only thing is I don’t know when I’m going to be moved into somewhere permanent. It’s all just a waiting game,” Amuimuia said.

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