Hundreds put on housing wait list

About 300 students may be placed on a Community Living and Learning Center waiting list after Saturday’s on-campus housing lottery, said Residence Hall Association President Randy Bomze.

“It went as smoothly as can be expected,” said Paul Barkett, assistant director of CLLC. “I would’ve liked there to be enough space for everybody.”

CLLC gave students the option of requesting a spot on the waiting list after the only rooms available were singles in Mitchell and Strong halls. Students who submitted Intent-to-Return forms are guarenteed housing for the next year.

“This is not only guaranteed housing but a guaranteed headache,” said freshman Matt Short, who placed himself on the waiting list.

Students will receive housing as cancellations are received, and are guaranteed a room assignment by June 30, according to information given to waiting list students. Bomze said singles in Mitchell still are available.

Guaranteed waiting list request forms are due March 2 from students who did not receive a room. These forms ask students to list hall preferences.

“It is a real pain because of the ambiguity of the University and the people who are running the lottery,” said Jen Buthmann, a freshman on the waiting list.

Bomze said the waiting list, which was not necessary in last year’s lottery, may have been caused by the decrease in number of available rooms. Pennsylvania House has been taken off the residence hall system and Madison Hall will house only freshmen next year.

Bomze said the trend of increased student enrollment may become a strain on housing.

“We foresee it becoming a problem within the next two years,” she said.

Bomze said the University is planning to build a new residence hall and may need to buy an existing building in the future.

But she said she thinks it won’t be necessary to buy or lease a building to fit the students on the waiting list this year. CLLC will offer full refunds of the $300 deposit until June 1 for students who already are placed in a residence hall but decide not to live on campus. Bomze said the refund offer may open spots on campus.

She said the decision to allow the refunds came because of an abrupt increase in housing prices last week. The increase reflects the cost of technological improvements during the summer.

Phase one of the University’s technological upgrade plan is slated to begin March 1, when an outside contractor will begin to wire seven residence halls with Ethernet connections, cable television and additional phone lines, Bomze said.

Bomze said the new price for residence halls will include a four percent cost of living increase and a $520 per-resident annual fee. The fee will be prorated if work is not completed before students move in.

“It’s not that big of a price to pay to know that we’re finally being listened to,” she said.

Mike Peller, executive director of Student and Academic Support Services Administrative Services, said the University has an aggressive schedule planned to upgrade residence hall technology. He said the plan is for seven halls to be wired between now and August 1.

Peller said Strong and Guthridge are almost certain to be completed on time and that he hopes Fulbright, JBKO, Munson, Thurston and Adams will be completed by next academic year.

Bomze said the increase in price may drive students out of on-campus housing, leaving openings for waiting list students.-Matt Berger contributed to this report.

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