Upperclassmen housing limited

Toby Uecker

Toby Uecker

For the second year in a row, the Department of Residential Life is changing how it houses SDSU students.

Starting next fall, Bailey Hall, an apartment-style building which currently houses students at least two years out of high school, will be home exclusively to second-year students. Rooms in Wecota Annex will change from single occupancy housing for mostly upperclassmen to double occupancy rooms for freshmen and sophomores.

These changes leave Berg Hall and the third floor of Waneta Hall as the only on-campus housing options for upperclassmen. The Board of Regents requires state universities to house all first- and second-year students.

“Not a lot of residential life programs make these big changes … in the course of one year,” Susan L. Sanberg, associate director of residential life, said. “It’s a pretty monumental task. We’re sort of reinventing ourselves on the fly.”

The changes, announced to current campus residents in a Friday mailing and to the Students’ Association Senate at its Monday meeting, are a response to consistently increasing enrollment at SDSU.

A major increase in the size of the freshman class put residence halls at 101.4 percent capacity this past fall and prompted expanded housing options for this school year. The planned changes for next year stem from admissions estimates of an even larger freshman class in the fall of 2003.

Sandberg has been aware of the possible need for additional housing options next fall since shortly after residence halls opened last fall. Weekly updates from the admissions office have consistently shown an increase in applications when compared to last year, she said.

According to Sandberg, “We’ve got the largest freshman class in the history of SDSU with us right now, who will then become the largest sophomore class with another really large freshman class following.”

For Residential Life, this fact has meant brainstorming ideas for how to house the large number of students. The department created multiple spaces for the current school year by reclaiming once-used rooms that had become offices and storage and by creating expanded housing spaces in what had been dayrooms on each residence hall floor. With that accomplished, Sandberg said, the department’s options for creating new spaces are exhausted.

Thus, Sandberg and her colleagues were forced to explore options for using current facilities differently.

“We looked at lots and lots of options,” she said, “But criteria really come down to how many more spaces do we need.”

In opening the spaces in Bailey and the Annex, Residential Life has provided the number of spaces that current estimates show they will need. At the same time, however, it does displace some upperclassmen who would normally stay on campus.

While the majority of students choose to move off campus after two years, Residential Life estimates show that between 200 and 225 non-required students who would normally have chosen to stay in the residence hall system will have to find somewhere else to live next fall.

“It’s really hard for us to make that decision, because they’ve been really faithful customers,” Sandberg said. “It’s hard to say ‘I’m sorry. You can’t stay with us anymore.'”

With these hard decisions made, the Department of Residential Life sent five different letters to student groups on campus, depending on their current housing status.

Residents of Berg Hall and the third floor of Waneta Hall may reapply for their current rooms Feb. 11 or for different rooms in the building the morning of Feb. 12.

The next residents in line for the around 200 slots available to non-required students will be the current upperclassmen in Bailey Hall. Those who wish to stay on campus may apply for remaining rooms in Berg and third floor Waneta the morning of Feb. 12.

Upperclassmen currently living elsewhere on campus, including the Wecota Annex, may apply for any non-required housing left on Feb. 12 in the afternoon.

Any slots remaining for non-required residents after current upperclassmen are finished applying will be available to current second-year students.

Current first-year students will have the option of reapplying for their current room or applying for one of the 160 slots in Bailey Hall for next year. More information on the application process for Bailey will be distributed in late February. Bailey rooms will be given out by random draw after all applications have been received.

Requirements to live in the newly designated Bailey apartments are a GPA of at least 2.5 and a status of no judicial censure or probation with Residential Life at the time of application.

Sandberg anticipates many questions from residents in coming weeks. She said that her staff has spent a great deal of time preparing responses to the concerns some residents will have about the changes.

Sandberg also expects some residents to be upset with the situation. Those who may be displeased should keep in mind the tight situation her department is in, she said.

“I do hope that when people are being practical and objective about this, that they’ll recognize that we’re doing what we have to,” Sandberg said. “As a department, we don’t have a lot of options.”

#1.887619:75751686.jpg:underhousing.jpg:Because underclassmen admission is up for next fall, Wecota Annex and Bailey Hall will no longer house upperclassmen. Annex rooms like this one will house two students instead of one. :