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Expanded housing future unclear

BY CARLY MATTHEW | JANUARY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa students stuck in expanded housing have found an early exit this year, but university housing isn’t in the clear yet.

Officials are unsure what effects larger freshman classes, the opening of Petersen Hall in the fall, and the closing of Quadrangle the following academic year will have on the number of students who spend time in expanded housing.When it opens this fall, Petersen Hall — the first new dorm since 1968 — will add around 500 more beds.

“Petersen will be very helpful for us,” said Virginia Olin, assistant director of University Housing’s contracts and assignments. “We’ll have more spaces and more opportunities for people to live in the halls.”

However, Quadrangle currently holds around 350 students and is due for closure in 2016 as part of plan to demolish it to use the space for a new pharmacy building.

“That year, I imagine expanded housing will be pretty darn full,” Olin said. “If our student population continues to grow and we lose some of the spaces we have in Quadrangle, it may mean we have students in expanded housing longer than we typically do.”

The number of students placed in expanded housing varies from year to year depending on the number of first-year students admitted and how many students return to live on campus after their first year.

Other factors include the sex of the students in need of housing and the type of housing they indicated in their applications.

“All of the men were out of expanded housing in the first six weeks,” said Von Stange, the assistant vice president for University Housing and Dining.

Most students are out of expanded housing within the first two months of the fall.

“That will probably be a problem depending on how much the university grows that year,” Stange said.

Olin also said keeping the halls full keeps costs down for all students because vacancies are nonexistent.

During the fall semester, students lived in expanded housing in Daum, Rienow, Slater, and Stanley.

“We didn’t get our lounge back until the beginning of this semester,” said Daum resident and UI freshman Bella Larson. “I wish we had a lounge last semester, but I understand expanded housing students don’t really want to be in there, either.”

Students placed into expanded housing at the UI typically live in lounges with eight to 10 students sharing bunk beds and dressers. Expanded housing residents typically share tables in place of desks and lack closet space.

Students are charged a reduced $10 a day rate.

“It didn’t really bother me that we didn’t have a lounge,” said UI Daum resident Alex Bess. “I don’t really know what to do with one now that we have one.”


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