‘Lack of space’ forces Housing to find on-campus solutions

Joshua Farmer

Appalachian State University has hit a wall in expanding its on-campus housing.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Susan Davies said that housing is one of the big reasons why the university is maintaining the freshman enrollment cap at 3,000 students.

“I think that the lack of space on campus is not just housing, but also classroom space,” Davies said.

Davies said that it is important that the university is able to keep class sizes small because it is a “hallmark of the Appalachian experience.”

“We are only going to be able to grow as much as our building space currently can allow us to grow,” Davies said.

Director of Housing and Residence Life Tom Kane said that much of the land on campus is vertical, and it is not economically feasible to build on a steep hill or mountainside.

To accommodate the goal of housing 40 percent of students on campus, housing needed a total of 6,000 beds, Kane said.

Kane said they looked on campus to find space for additional beds.

In the 2012-13 school year, Housing had 5,800 beds after giving resident assistants single bedrooms and was able to house all incoming freshmen and students who wanted to live on campus, Kane said.

Kane said this was made possible by building Mountaineer Hall with 460 beds and Summit Hall, which houses 333 students.

In the foreseeable future, housing would stay around 5,800 beds because the plan is to only renovate one building a year, Kane said.

In May of this year, Winkler will be closed for a 15-month renovation to turn the 132-bed apartment-style dorm to a 190-bed suite-style dorm, Kane said.

For the 2013-14 school year, Housing will have around 5,684 beds with 3,000 guaranteed to freshmen.

“That means we have 2,684 beds for upperclassmen to live in next year,” Kane said.

Kane said Housing now has to wait and see how many people apply for housing this year to see if they will once again be able to accommodate everyone who wants to stay on campus.

Kane has a theory for prediction from observing the past.

“Weather does have an impact in how people look at the whole convenience issue,” Kane said.

Colder winters cause people to want to stay on campus because they hear their friends talk about high utility bills and the inconveniences of living off campus during an active winter, Kane said.

Story: STEPHANIE SANSOUCY, Senior News Reporter