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Temp dorm living alive & well

BY KEVIN HOFFMAN | AUGUST 21, 2009 7:07 AM

Despite a $9 million residence-hall project, the UI is carrying on its tradition of placing dozens of freshmen in temporary housing at the start of the fall semester.

The number of students in temporary housing is up from last year — from 112 students to 138. That number peaked at 171 in 2007.

And although the university just completed a new addition to Burge Residence Hall, officials said it will do little to solve the problem.

At first, officials touted the 26 new Burge suites as a way to lower the number of students placed in temporary housing, but now, University Housing officials are featuring them as a means to attract students to dorm life.

“When we originally built the addition, the intent was to add these beds knowing as we did other projects we would lose beds,” said University Housing Director Von Stange. “Ultimately, there was no net gain in our residence halls’ operations.”

More than 100 students are returning to the dorms this year, which is more than the previous year. Housing applications also came in at a slower rate then previous years. University Housing used the previous year’s information to determine the occupancy rate, which is why the number of temporary housing students is higher than last year.

Students placed in temporary housing typically share a lounge at the end of a hall with up to eight people until rooms become available. They pay $10 per day and switch to the normal room and board rate once they are relocated.

University Housing places students by housing application contract dates to decide who gets out of temporary rooms first. Officials will verify open rooms on the first day of class.

University Housing officials try to get all students out of temporary housing by the end of first semester. When rooms are available, students receive an e-mail with a permanent room assignment. They then have 24 hours to accept.

Greg Thompson, the manager of Residence Life operations, said sharing a room with several other people often proves to be rewarding.

“Students really enjoy their temporary housing experience, it seems like,” he said.

However, many incoming freshmen aren’t thrilled about the living conditions.

A discussion board titled “Who got the shaft — temporary housing” on Facebook shows most students complaining about their situations.

UI freshman Laura Cyrek said she has mixed emotions about staying in a Stanley lounge with seven other people.

“Privacy is definitely going to be the biggest issue,” she said, but she noted it might be easier to form strong relationships with her roommates.

UI sophomore Mike Sowell spent nearly two months in the fifth-floor lounge of Rienow last year before moving to a room in Hillcrest.

He said living without what most students have in their rooms — including sinks, vanities, and closets — was frustrating at times.

“There was no separation,” he said. “You were constantly in each other’s space.”

Although temporary housing may be inconvenient, some say it does have perks.

“The room itself was pretty large,” Sowell said. “I ended up becoming good friends with two of the guys I was rooming with.”


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