On-campus housing overflow under control

On-campus housing overflow under control

Carl Blankenship

Though Appalachian State University currently has the capacity to house 5,518 students on campus, the problem of overbooking still warranted 46 unassigned students which the university had to find  a place for.

When there is an overflow of students on campus, single-bed resident assistant rooms house an additional student, University Housing Director Tom Kane said.

This is the third year in a row that the university has not had permanent RA roommates. The university overbooked 288 returning students in anticipation of cancellations. Only 242 students cancelled, leaving the overflow to live with RAs.

In prior years, RAs always had permanent, expected roommates, and in the instance of overflow, some rooms were assigned to have three residents. Lounges were converted to living space, as well. Kane said no freshmen have been assigned to live in lounges or upperclassmen residence halls this year.

Kane said the university guarantees housing to freshman students and anticipated housing 3,010 freshmen this year.  However, 3,015 freshmen are currently being housed.

“If an RA has a roommate for less than one month, then the university gets the money for the room, but if the RA still has a roommate after one month, they get to keep the money,” Kane said. “It’s a good compromise to show that we’re not trying to overbook.”

Kane said there is no push toward moving back to permanent RA roommates.

“A lot of what RAs do needs to be done in private,” Kane said.  “RAs don’t have offices, they have their rooms, and it cost us a room on every wing but it’s worth it so RAs can do their jobs better.”

Dino DiBernardi, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Development, said the university has hired consulting firm Brailsford & Dunlavey to assess the current housing situation on campus.

DiBernardi said if the university had the ability, it would not build high rises, but the landscape limits building options.

“Their report will help guide us with what to do different and what to build new,” DiBernardi said. “We don’t have much flat land and sometimes we have to utilize what we have and go up instead of out.”

Story: Carl Blankenship, News Reporter