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RAs receive roommates

September 21, 2006

With limited housing available for the number of students seeking on-campus residence this semester, Residence Life officials turned hundreds of students away, filled temporary housing units and assigned some students to live with resident assistants (RAs).

There are 66 more students with housing contracts than there were last September, meaning that arrangements had to be made to accommodate more temporary housing situations.

Thirty-six RAs were informed they would be sharing their rooms in early August.

Terry Willson, director of Residence Life, said they were given the option to choose their roommate, but only two RAs took advantage of the offer.

“I was interested in having a roommate I did not know before school started, and the experience has been a very good outcome,” said Carye Kringle, a first-year RA in Prucha Hall.

Willson said Residence Life tried to put roommates with first-year RAs since those RAs had roommates last semester and the adjustment would be easier.

Those two also volunteered to keep their roommate for the entire school year.

Jessie Gadach, an RA in Stratton Hall, is one of the two who volunteered to keep her roommate.

“I feel that having a roommate actually helps me fit in better. Everyone else has a roommate and so do I,” Gadach said. “I also understand first-hand what it is like to share a room.”

Never before has Residence Life had to give RAs roommates, but Willson said there is a stipulation in the RA contracts that would allow Residence Life to place students in those rooms, if needed, without breaking the contract.

Since RAs are generally supposed to have their own rooms, Willson said those who have roommates will be compensated.

“Those with year-long roommates will get $100 a month,” he said. “RAs will get $100 for having a roommate, even if they move out.”

Most of the RAs won’t have to share their rooms the entire year, or even the entire semester.

Willson said the primary concern would be to get those students living with RAs moved into permanent housing.

They will then start moving other students out of other temporary housing locations.

Last week, Residence Life began moving residents in temporary housing into permanent rooms left vacant by students who sought other living arrangements off campus or went elsewhere to pursue an academic career.

Their first concern was to get rid of RA roommates by reassigning 26 of them to permanent double rooms.

In the past three years, the demand for housing has steadily increased — a result of rising enrollment.

“If the [housing] trend continues, we may continue to give RAs roommates in the future,” Willson said.

During the summer, Willson said all of the bathroom facilities in Prucha and May Halls were enlarged.

With the bathroom renovations, one double room on either side of each bathroom had to be sacrificed, bringing capacity levels down.

In order to compensate for the loss of space, computer labs in May and Stratton Halls were turned into permanent housing.

“We were able to gain four male beds with the loss of the computer labs,” Willson said, adding that the computer labs in Prucha Hall were also improved in hopes students from May and Stratton could utilize them as well.

Willson said eventually all computer labs in the residence halls will be obsolete, especially with the increased number of students bringing their own computers.
Since enrollment rates have been on the rise the past few years, Residence Life put in a budget proposal for the South Fork Suites addition.

The residence hall was built with the intent to add on in the future, and the addition was originally expected to be completed in 2010.

Yet considering the current housing situation, Willson said Residence Life is hoping the addition will be completed by 2009, with groundbreaking occurring next summer.

The erection of the new Student Union will also help with the housing crunch.

Once the building is complete, services currently located in the Hagestad Student Center will be moved to the new building.

When the Student Center is empty, Willson said there is a possibility that Career Services and FredNet Services will fill some vacant spaces.

Both facilities are currently located in the basement of Hathorn Hall and relocation will vacate space in the residence hall for 20 to 30 double rooms.