In order to keep residence halls from bursting at the seams, the Board of Regents is considering the construction of a 144-bed wing onto Territorial Hall this winter.
The proposed expansion is up for review and approval by the regents at their regular meeting today. The regents will also consider proposals for the biennial budget, the women’s soccer stadium and several schematic plans for building renovations throughout campus.
Regent David Metzen said he will be following the Territorial project closely.
“I was a three-year resident of Territorial Hall, so I’m very interested,” he said. “I love Territorial Hall.”
Slated for the hall’s northeast corner, the four-level expansion will add 72 double-bed rooms to the residence hall, which currently houses about 550 students in 279 rooms. If approved, the expansion will be completed by fall 1999 at a cost of $4,577,000.
Mary Ann Ryan, director of Housing and Residential Life, said students now living in the hall have no need to worry about being displaced. If the expansion plan passes, she said, students living in Territorial will not have to move when construction begins this winter.
She added that officials will also be sensitive to the issue of noise during construction.
The proposal to the board for the expansion mentions a “minimal amount of asbestos abatement,” but the extent of that issue hasn’t been addressed yet.
Also included in the expansion proposal are plans to modernize the hall, including upgrading the fire alarm system and renovating the elevator.
The Territorial Hall plan is part of an overall effort to expand housing options for students who want to live on campus. Plans for a new residence hall on the South Mall have recently been in the works, and construction has already begun on the privately owned University Village, a housing and retail complex on University Avenue just east of campus.
The need for student housing has become a special priority since this year’s freshman class enrollment rose 10 percent above initial estimates. Retention of on-campus housing has also risen to further complicate the shortage.
This fall, more than 75 percent of the freshman class applied for on-campus housing. Because the University officials guaranteed housing to freshmen who applied by May 1, it will be forced to house about 500 students in nearby hotels until space in residence halls frees up. Officials hope to have the displaced students into permanent housing before winter quarter.
“We bring them in and we try to make it attractive for them, then we tell them there’s no room,” said McKinley Boston, vice president for student development and athletics.
But the University’s on-campus housing shortage is not unusual. According to a Sept. 8 article in the New York Times, many schools like the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of Delaware-Newark have also faced an inundation of freshmen and a lack of rooms to house them.
The article stated that students are swaying toward public institutions because these schools are advertising themselves better. Parents are also taking into consideration the cost of schools and the financial aid limits that don’t quite cover the costs of more expensive private institutions.