Columnist questions construction value

Michael Promes

The biggest event this school year is the presence of the construction on SDSU’s campus. No matter where you are on campus, it seems like you can’t avoid it. For most, it is a major inconvenience, but the benefit of the inconvenience will become apparent when the project is complete.

Within the next year, SDSU students will be able to enjoy four new residence hall complexes and a large Union expansion, which will include several new dining options. There is no doubt these additions to the campus are an improvement and the university will certainly benefit in many ways from them. They will provide more housing and food options and will make the university appear bigger, better and more prestigious. But there is one concern about the timing of the additions: are they really necessary at this point in time?

There is no question there is a lack of housing on the SDSU campus. Residence halls are jam packed, forcing some students to reside in day rooms with three other roommates.

While the South Dakota Board of Regents would prefer that freshman and sophomore students reside on campus, roughly 500 of those students live off campus this year (these numbers are generalizations, for future reference). I am sure the Board of Regents would like that number to go down, which is a big reason behind the new residence halls.

There are roughly 350 students that reside in a given residence hall, depending on the building. I am guessing that the number of students the new residence halls will be able to accommodate will be consistent with that number.

If there are about 530 students living off campus or in an over-flow dorm and who need dorm rooms on campus, the university should have no problem placing those freshman and sophomore students in the new residence halls. If there are four new residence halls which could each house as many students as the existing ones, there will be roughly 700 dorm rooms with 1,400 students (two students per room). But does SDSU actually need that many dorm rooms right now?

It was reported in the Sept. 26 issue of The Collegian that attendance at SDSU has been dropping in the past two years. Granted, a large percentage of that number is graduate students who would not live in the residence halls anyway, but it still reflects undergraduate numbers as well.

If the trend continues, there will be even less demand for on-campus housing, so the construction of this many new residence halls almost seems unnecessary at this point. The numbers will show you: the supply of housing will outweigh the current demand. I do not believe that there is a drastic need for four new housing complexes for the fall 2013 semester.


Michael Promes is a sophomore majoring in psychology. He can be emailed at [email protected].