Living life in expanded housing

Rebecca Schultze

Rebecca Schultze

Students living in the residence hall dayrooms, now termed expanded housing, are taking the good along with the bad, making the most of their unusual situation.

Jacob Fesler, Chris Willers and Doug Timm will call the dayroom on the second floor of Mathews Hall home for the next year, along with three other men.

On move-in day there were 58 people who did not show up to move into their on-campus housing assignments, according to Doug Wermedal, assistant dean of Student Affairs.

About 60 percent of those that didn’t show up to their assigned resident hall were male. Wermedal said that, at this time, those extra rooms will remain open to leave space for new comers and to leave a little room for people to move around when the halls are open to room switching.

That doesn’t bother Fesler, Willers or Timm. All three said that they wouldn’t move into traditional housing if given the chance.

That doesn’t surpise Wermedal.

“What we’re more likely to encounter is students wanting to move to that space,” he said, referring to spaces available in expanded housing.

Although the men plan on staying where they are throughout the school year, the advantages of two televisions, three computers and two refrigerators come with a price.

“I like living here, but it’s hard to live when everyone is coming and going all the time,” Timm said.

“When I called [residential life], they told me that the square footage is equivalent to that in a normal room and I’d have everything you’d find in a normal room,” Timm said.

However, Timm and his roommates and fellow dayroom dwellers are without mirrors or book shelves and are provided with a single bar, 4 to 5 feet long, to serve as their closet.

Wermedal said that putting mirrors on the wall wouldn’t be too much of a problem since they can easily be removed and they don’t take up floor space. As far as the bookcases are concerned, each room and each student will be consulted individaully, he said.

Since in the traditional rooms bookcases are mounted on the walls, the options will have to be explored a little more deeply.

Expanded housing was anticipated for this year, and there is the possiblity it will be needed next year, according to Wermedal, but it isn’t something that will indefinately house students on campus.

“We probably can’t change major things like wiring, but we could probably provide lamps,” Wermedal said, referring to the one light switch for the entire dayroom area.

The residential life management team meets weekly to discuss matters related to the residence halls and living situations.

“There may not be things we encounter until later in the year,” Wermedal said.

“We’ve just now opened, so I suspect that a lot of these [problems] will filter up, eventually,” he said.

Fesler said that he and his five roomates get along pretty well, considering their unusual circumstances.

One of the most difficult aspects is having to juggle five other schedules rather than just one when you want some privacy.

“If someone brought a chick home for the night it would be a little awkward,” Fesler said.

Wermedal said that the issue of privacy is less an issue of modesty as it is an issue of “where can I study, where can I kick back and where can I have a snack and just get away for awhile.”

Wade Eilert, a freshman from Stickney living in the thrid floor dayroom in Binnewies Hall, doesn’t mind the “full house.”

“Pretty much the only time we’re in here all together is at night, and not always even then,” he said.

By opening up the dayrooms for expanded housing, the other residents lost a main lounge area and kitchen space.

Wermedal said that there wasn’t a big demand for the kitchens in the dayrooms, anyway.

To compensate the lost of a lounge area to all students, Wermedal said they are having a new program called Late Night Larson.

Beginning on Sept. 15, Sudays through Thursdays, the Larson Commons cafeteria space will be open as a monitored study space with drinks available and appetizers for sale from 7 until 11 p.m.

Wermedal said that study space for hours after 11 p.m. is developing.

“If we see really heavy usage of Late Night Larson, we may have to extend the hours,” he said. “If Late Night Larson goes well we’ll look into opening it in Medary.

SDSU, like almost every other institution of higher education experiences a decline in enrollment every year between the fall and spring semesters.

“If enrollment declines enough, those in expanded housing wil have the option to move out,” Wermedal said, “but they will be given a choice and not forced to move out of the dayrooms.”

The South Dakota Board of Regents require all first year and second year students to live on campus. After the second year they are given the choice to either live on campus or to move to off-campus housing.

According to Wermedal between 100 and 150 SDSU students beyond their second year live on campus.

“I don’t anticipate a time where our demand for student living will exceed what he have available,” he said.

A new residence hall is an approved possiblity for the future, but its construction will depend on where SDSU is in terms of enrollment when an absolute decision must be made on whether or not to build.

Until a new resident hall is built or enrollment declines, some students will have to adjust to a life of multiple alarm clocks, cozy spaces, a lack of privacy and constant coversational companions within the confines of their own room.