UI housing, dining forced to change with record enrollment


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With this year's University of Iowa freshman class having the potential to surpass last year's record-breaking enrollment of 4,557 incoming students, university officials have made alterations and additions to expanded housing as well as dining-hall options.

As of Monday, 133 students had been placed in "expanded housing," fluctuating as spaces open nearing the start of the school year, said Von Stange, the director of UI Housing and Dining.

"The number of students in 'expanded housing' changes on a daily basis as we get cancellations coming through, allowing us to place these students in more permanent living situations," Stange said.

Since last year, the Centerstone apartment building has been added as a residence hall, decreasing the overall number of students placed in temporary housing in comparison to last year's 116 UI students.

Further housing has been provided and expanded through the university at the Lodge, a property the university began leasing last year.

The large number of freshmen in the 2010-11 school year was a learning experience that highlighted needed changes, said Michael Barron, the UI assistant provost for Admissions.

Freshman Andong Cheng said living in temporary housing doesn't bother him as long it remains temporary.

"Although I am enjoying living in the lounge as of right now, there are only three of us here so far," Cheng said. "There are definitely going to be problems with space once all six of move in."

Along with housing, the university has also expanded its dining services, now allowing students to utilize their meal plan at Pat's Diner in the Pappajohn Business Building, Food for Thought in the Main Library, and the IMU River Room.

"One of the things that we are concerned about in regard to the large freshman class is the amount of traffic that goes through the Burge Marketplace," said Stange. "Students will now be able to use their meal plan to get an entrée, a side, and a drink using their meal plans at our newly added locations."

Stange said he hopes more options for students to use their meal plans will decrease the lunch rush at Burge, where overcrowding problems occurred last year.

While there are problems that need to be addressed with the size of recent years' freshman classes, neither Stange nor Barron said the school needs an enrollment cap, an idea which has been batted around in the past.

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