Residence halls stay packed

Parking is one issue as the residence halls are full. Some students are on a waiting list, while some have moved in with resident assistants.

Anita Jenison

Parking is one issue as the residence halls are full. Some students are on a waiting list, while some have moved in with resident assistants.

Jessica MacIntosh

Some students had to wait for campus housing this fall, but Missouri Southern officials insist full residence halls is a positive.

“We’re excited about the residence halls being packed,” said Doug Carnahan, dean of students.

Adam Griffin, director of student housing, said it is a positive to have the residence halls filled.

“We expected to be fairly full this year,” Griffin said. “We had a big jump last year. It’s a great thing to be totally full.”

University President Julio León said it is nice to have the residence halls full.

“It’s very nice,” he said. “We were full last year. We continue to make improvements to the dormitories every year.”

Griffin said they filled every available spot.

“We did not want to turn anyone away,” he said.

Because of the residence halls being full, less than 10 students were placed on a waiting list.

“We have most of those in (rooms),” Griffin said.

The men on the waiting list, Griffin said, have been moved in but there are still females on the list.

Kori McLemore, freshman communications major, did not have a room until the end of the first week of classes.

McLemore applied approximately four weeks ago. She went to the housing office and asked about a room. McLemore said they told her the prospects did not look good.

She was making the trip from Springfield to classes everyday.

“[I] commute an hour in and an hour out,” she said.

McLemore said she spent $100 on gas in the first week.

“[That’s] $100 I don’t have,” she said.

If she did not have a room within the first week, McLemore said she would have dropped her Tuesday and Thursday class.

“It’s stupid for me to drive for one class,” she said.

McLemore now has a room in McCormick Hall.

“It feels great,” she said. “I’m excited.”

With the number of students in the residence halls up, students had to be moved into the resident assistants’ rooms.

Griffin said the RAs were e-mailed mid-summer with the possibility they would have a roommate. They were given the opportunity to request a specific roommate.

“I don’t think a lot of them took that seriously,” he said. “Not a lot of them got back with us on a second person to put in their rooms.”

This did not happen until a week before check-in on Aug. 17. This coincided with the last wave of student applications for the residence halls.

“It happened late,” Griffin said. “We always have a lot moving in at the last minute.”

Griffin said the RA rooms were the last spots filled.

“I would say most of them were overly thrilled,” he said. “For next year, they know they will get two roommates for sure.”

Austin Mayfield, junior business administration major and resident assistant, said he already arranged to have two roommates.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” he said.

Mayfield said for the RAs, he thinks it is not a big deal. He said the RAs have their own rooms.

Griffin said two years ago the residence hall numbers were up about 130 students.

“Actually last year was a bigger jump in numbers than this year was,” he said. “We were very pleasantly surprised last year. This year we expected that trend to continue to go up, which would have put us at this position.”

Before the construction of East Hall, Blaine and McCormick were double rooms.

“We went from having a waiting list before East Hall was built of 50-60 people a year to our numbers going from 500 and something down to 300 and something,” Griffin said.

He said at that time, students wanted to have their own rooms.

“If you look at most other schools, they do offer single rooms now,” Griffin said. “We need to be in the same game as everyone else. For us to be competitive with other schools in what our residence halls offer, we have to continue to upgrade.”

The University then offered single rooms after numbers in the residence halls decreased two years ago, Carnahan said.

“Kids loved them and were willing to pay the extra money,” Carnahan said. “The demand for privacy is incredible.”

Because of the high demand, the first floors of Blaine and McCormick were renovated into single rooms with new furniture, refrigerators and carpeting. Carnahan said they are currently working on some rooms in Blaine.

“(Students) are more willing to come back, stay and enjoy it,” León said.

Though the rooms were converted into single rooms, Griffin said it does take away space.

“We lost 46 spots,” he said.

Although they may have lost spots to place students, Carnahan said they are not losing revenue. Students are paying more for private rooms.

Out of the four options students have to choose from – single, double room, apartment style and suite style, Griffin said the single rooms and suites in East Hall are the first to fill up.

“We turn more people away from single rooms than anything else,” he said. “The demand is definitely out there.”

León said the University continues to make improvements to the residence halls every year. He also said they are kept in good shape and are among the best in Missouri.

“We are trying to be as responsive to the needs and the wants of the students when we make more single rooms available to the students,” he said.

At Pittsburg State University, the residence halls are full. Steve Erwin, associate vice president for campus life and auxiliary services, said students were placed into the 40 RA rooms.

“All of them started the semester with a roommate,” Erwin said.

Prior to classes starting, Erwin said there was a waiting list with about 20 students of each gender, but said that number has “dwindled down.”

Erwin said 1,100 students live on PSU’s campus and 125 private rooms are offered. According to the Aug. 24 edition of PSU’s student newspaper, Collegio, the traditional single rooms were converted into double rooms to accommodate the students.

At Webster University, 625 students currently live on campus. John Buck, associate dean of students, said the residence halls have not been overcrowded; they have been full.

“The style and structure of our hold halls did not allow for room tripling, for example,” Buck said.