First round of students choose housing, up to 250 could go on wait list

Rising juniors and seniors raced to get into the new Ivory Tower residence hall during Sunday’s housing selection, which was spared computer problems that plagued last year’s process. But about 250 students were unable to secure Foggy Bottom housing and await on-campus rooms if they fill out a wait list form Monday, officials said.

Juniors and seniors who did not receive a spot can fill out a campus housing interest form on the Community Living and Learning Center Web site by the end of the day Monday to be placed on a wait list.

Vacancies will be given out based on the number of students who accept their housing assignments. The wait list will not affect the pool of rooms set aside for sophomores who are set to select housing March 7.

“We have a melt of beds starting after selection day,” said Andrew Sonn, director of Housing Services. “The height of demand occurs on selection day, and then from there we usually have a number of openings with which we’re able to accommodate a certain number (of students without rooms) without any problem.”

About 350 students remained on the wait list after both lottery days last year.

“What we say at this point is that students will be guaranteed a housing offer here on Foggy Bottom,” he said.

Ivory Tower’s 179 doubles and quads were filled by noon. University officials said the 729-bed residence hall, located on 23rd and G streets, was the most coveted choice for students living on campus next year. The $64 million hall is scheduled to open in August and is currently undergoing construction.

“The thing that really stands out this year is the popularity of Ivory Tower,” said Sonn. “That went really quickly. It’s something we were very excited about and were glad so many students are happy to live there.”

While some students expressed concerns about staying in a new residence hall, those who opted to live in Ivory Tower said the allure of a brand-new facility outweighed the possibility that it would be prone to malfunctions. Several residence halls, such as 1957 E Street and New Hall, were afflicted with flooding and elevator stoppages in the years following their completion.

“We figured we’d go for it because it was new, and you don’t have the chance to live in a new dorm too often,” said junior Dan Strouse, who said he will live in an Ivory Tower quad next year. “We decided we’d take the chance and deal with the glitches if there are any.”

Singles available for the first time in Francis Scott Key Hall and 2109 F Street also disappeared quickly. Although Mitchell Hall has always featured more than 300 singles, the University added 250 rooms to keep up with a growing number of student requests to live alone.

“A continuing trend we’ve seen over the past couple of years is a greater demand for singles, particularly among upper division students,” Sonn said. “I think a lot of students are getting to the point, especially as they’re becoming juniors and seniors, where they’re looking for their own living environment.”

With the addition of Ivory Tower, Sunday’s selection offered a record number of rooms. More than 3,200 rising juniors and seniors selected from 903 singles, doubles, triples and quads as well as a few rooms accommodating five or six students.

Although no technical glitches were reported, a number of students were caught off guard by a notice on the binding reservation agreement stating that students studying abroad second semester would have to live in either the Hall on Virginia Avenue, the Aston or Mitchell Hall next fall. Housing officials said that policy is no longer in place and regretted the error.

“That’s absolutely not the case,” said Sonn, who noted that only one student called the housing office Sunday to complain about the agreement. “That was the policy for some time last year, but that’s not how it is now. It must have been a misprint on the site.”

Last year, officials needed to re-issue lottery numbers after realizing the process wasn’t randomized, and pushed back selection until late April to ensure a fair process.

As the lottery came to a close Sunday night, on-campus housing options became scant. All Foggy Bottom rooms available to rising juniors and seniors were filled by 8:30 p.m. with as many as 250 students still waiting to select. Even though some rooms were still available on the Mount Vernon Campus, officials said all students looking to live in Foggy Bottom would be able to secure housing there.

Despite the greater number of available rooms, some students said they were disappointed with their options.

“We had a pretty good number, and I thought I’d at least get one of my top three choices, but it wasn’t even close,” said sophomore Jeff Azarva, who settled for the Aston, a building on New Hampshire Avenue several blocks off campus.

Students dissatisfied with their assignments can fill out a room change request form and will be given fresh offers as vacancies become available.

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