Students stuck in expanded housing


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Some UI students have found themselves in closer quarters than expected as they join the largest freshman class in university history.

Approximately 160 students are living in expanded housing, according to assistant director for residence education Greg Thompson, which is more than last year. Such students have to share desk and dresser space, and are charged a reduced daily rate.

“It is not troubling for us to do this,” said Von Stange, senior director of housing and dining. “It’s not a new phenomenon, and it doesn’t pose any additional challenges for us.”

In order to accommodate the flood of freshmen into the residence halls, UI Housing and Dining officials have converted dorm lounges into temporary housing for up to eight students. Also, some rooms in Burge and Slater that housed two students last year will now house three.

Stange said some students might spend the entire fall semester in lounges, whereas all residents last fall found permanent homes before spring 2014. Last year, about 60-90 students were moved out of lounges within the first two weeks.

UI freshmen Guilherme Miguel Müller and Rafael Santos Pereira, both from Brazil, ended up in expanded housing in Stanley this year. Miguel Müller said he is pleased for now, but he would like a separate room for more privacy.

However, Santos Pereira said he prefers the lounge because it is a better space to practice speaking English.

UI freshman Hannah Kutchen was placed in a double converted into a triple.

“When I found out our room was a triple, I was really bummed out about less closet space,” she said, noting there is also less space for appliances and electronics. “My roommate and I did not realize it was a triple when we selected the room on the housing site.”

However, Kutchen said she is ultimately pleased with her housing situation.

“The triples are actually not as bad as they sound,” she said. “My roommates and I have plenty of space for our stuff, and it’s nice to have someone to do stuff with when the other roommate is gone.”

To try to ease overcrowding, UI Housing and Dining offered to let students out of their contracts for free past the deadline earlier this summer, freeing them to find alternative residences. Stange said approximately 50 students did so.

Iowa State University has experienced housing woes of its own, having to turn students away. University of Northern Iowa is below capacity.

Petersen Hall, under construction on the UI’s West Campus, is due to open next fall and bring more beds with it. Stange said it could alleviate crowding issues, depending on how large future freshman classes are.

Director of Admissions Michael Barron said the incoming class has “record-breaking” numbers, but an official count will not be available until 10 days of class have passed.

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