Changes to residence halls, small group housing, campus housing and Residence Life staff are to come. Residence Life hopes to create stronger communities and more stable finances.
Chad Coleman, director of residence life and intramurals, said, “We’re solving more problems. That’s the gist of this whole thing.”
These changes will be implemented for the 2014-15 school year.
Miller hall will be closed, but Yoder 1 and Kratz 4 will be opened. Subsequently, there will be one less Resident Assistant position.
Four small group houses will be closed. Hospital, Vita, Valesco and Adelphian houses will all be closed to students next year.
These houses were chosen because they fit more of the four to seven student groups, which can be accommodated by student apartments and other options.
“By keeping Howell, East Hall and Kenwood, co-ed options are kept,” said Coleman, “We have a lot of co-ed living options for juniors and seniors now, just not in first and second year living experience.”
To make up for the loss of 30 beds from small group houses, 30 beds will be added by opening four units of Coffman. The basement will also be reopened as a communal space.
Kulp South will remain the same, however Kulp West and North will combine to become Kulp One. Each double room will be used as a single for students who wish to live in a 24/7 quiet place.
“We want it to be sort of like ‘library housing,’” explained Coleman.
Each room in Kulp will cost $250 more, which is half the cost of a double used as a single in any other campus housing situation.
Staff positions will also shift with these changes.
Neal Friesen, assistant director of residence life and student activities, will supervise all of the RAs and oversee day-to-day management in Kratz and Miller.
An intern will work part-time to assist Friesen with RA training, day-to-day work and KMY focused events.
“I’m excited about it and we do have someone lined up right now, potentially, who will be great for it,” said Coleman
Jeff Hochstetler, apartments manager, will step down from his role and Katie Dwyer-Zeman, assistant director of residence life and student activities, will take over this role.
Dwyer-Zeman will also exclusively sponsor Campus Activities Council.
The problems that called for these changes are varied but related mainly to wanting fuller floors, being better stewards of resources, and creating more economic stability for students and the college.
“Our footprint of housing spaces has far exceeded our actual students,” said Coleman.
More empty beds, less intentionality and competition for small group housing, and overhead charges for student and school demanded solutions.
“Because we’ve operated so big with so little, students have absorbed a lot of the cost,” said Coleman, “so the idea is to stop students from taking hits from here on.”
Coleman listed what will be accomplished, including: fewer paid student staff, a better living experience in the dorms and the apartments, less of a carbon footprint, more sustainable CAC leadership, more single rooms and more flexibility with summer, winter and athlete housing.
“With these changes I feel that there will be more community on our floors, there will be more RA collaboration… and Neal can be more focused on leadership and day-to-day management,” said Coleman, “And I feel the apartments will be better because there will be someone who is more accessible and has more time to lead with activities.”
Coleman admitted to expecting backlash and in response he said, “We’re being environmentally responsible and we’re trying to pass on the savings without actually killing the variety.”