Displaced students bunk in expanded housing

Days Inn expanded housing has not been used for first-year students since 2001.

Hayley Odom

First-year student John Ballantine applied late to the University, and said he is now paying for it.

Although the price does not affect his pocket book, it does affect his living arrangement. Ballantine is one of 460 first-year students living in expanded housing at the University.

“It’s very small. The bathrooms are horrible and we have to go to the other dorms to wash our clothes,” Ballantine said of his room at the Days Inn, “It’s not a lot of fun.”

Expanded student housing includes rooms at the Days Inn hotel, residence hall lounges, study rooms and rooms meant for two people that house three students.

Ballantine said he spends a lot of time outside of his room in order to meet people.

“The subject of my room is a great conversation starter,” he said.

Central Housing Associate Department Director Mannix Clark said the demand for on- campus student housing is higher this year than in past years. The last time the University used the Days Inn for expanded student housing was in 2001.

“We don’t like to use outside housing if we don’t have to. It’s an additional cost for the University,” Clark said. “But we reserve the right to do that.”

The official number of first-year students living in on-campus housing and University costs for expanded housing will be released in October, Clark said.

Students who live in expanded housing are students who apply to the University toward the end of the admittance period, in late April or by May 1, he said.

Clark said the University does not limit the number of students returning to live in residence halls. Because of that, he said, students who do not apply on time might not receive student housing.

Clark said limiting the number of students returning to residence halls might be considered in the future.

The students living in expanded housing pay the same rent as a double-occupancy room, approximately $1,865 per semester. The University staffs the Days Inn with community advisers, he said.

Clark said students placed at the Days Inn will be the first to move into open residence hall rooms. Some of those students might be moving as early as next week.

Although some students expressed anger about their living arrangements, most said they are adjusting well.

“It would be nice to live in a dorm to meet more people, but I think I’m doing OK,” said first-year student Jessica Colburn, who is living in the Days Inn.

Students at the Days Inn receive maid service once per week, she said.

First-year student Jeanne Opsahl said she does not mind living at the Days Inn.

“I wanted to be closer to campus, but this isn’t bad at all,” she said.

She said her only frustration was the lack of a printer in the hotel’s computer lab.

She said the University has done a good job accommodating the Days Inn students’ needs.

The University is not the only school to use expanded housing for its first-year students.

Clark said 200 students at Boston University are living in a hotel for the fall semester.