Queens is building a new apartment-style residence hall above the forthcoming parking deck that is slated to open in early September.
These new apartments will add 180 beds to campus, greatly easing the current housing situation. Residence Life has made it an initiative to make sure that as many juniors and seniors as possible will occupy the building and stay on campus. In some instances, it can be cheaper for upperclassmen to live off campus.
Residence Life is aware of students’ concerns and is working on incentives to persuade more juniors and seniors to stay on campus. While Thom Shepard, director of campus housing, didn’t reveal exactly what these incentives will be, they will include valuable compensation. “We have a list of about 12 possible incentives that we are considering offering to students,” said Shepard. “[The] incentives are so attractive that sophomores will be mad at [residence life].”
The incentives will be broken down into two categories; one to get juniors and seniors to live in the new building and the other one being exclusive to seniors to have them remain on campus regardless of residence hall. Both types of incentives will address different issues.
Some students have mixed feelings about the idea of moving into the new building. They might not want to deal with campus housing anymore, having made up their minds that they will live off campus. Others would consider the new dorm, but would not fully commit to it. For one, it will be the most expensive dorm to live in, surpassing Wireman Residence Hall. The cost to live in a double room in Wireman and Hayes for the 2011-12 school year is $6,476, for a single room the price is $8,276.
The current price for housing could be seen by some as hefty, and the requirement for every residential student to purchase a meal plan, with the exception of North Residence Hall, further convinces students to move off campus. The cheapest meal plan is the 14-meals plan, which costs $3,062 for the entire year.
Junior John Cappello left campus housing after the fall semester. “I couldn’t afford [living on campus], even as an R.A.” said Cappello. Cappello added that the monetary incentive is a good way to convince upperclassmen to stay on campus; however, he added that he is happy where he is right now and that it is highly unlikely that he will move back on campus. There are many who share his viewpoint.
“I miss the community atmosphere in the dorms,” says Junior Eva Barber, who currently lives in North. “I would not like to live [in the new dorm] because of the price.” However, she would consider moving into the new building if the financial incentives were satisfied her.
Residence Life is asking for students to be patient as they are finalizing housing plans for the next academic year. Shepard says that there will be a six-week window where living conditions will be cramped. With the building scheduled to open in September, this will make for a challenging living situation, beginning with move-in day in August.
Residence Life is considering temporarily placing three people in double rooms and two people in single rooms to accommodate all students during this transitional period before the new residence hall is opened. Shepard reiterated that the only group of students that would have to live in the aforementioned living arrangements would be freshman and new transfer students.
Students assigned to live in the new residence hall will be given temporary housing in the other residence halls, and once the hall is completed they will be able to move in. Freshman and transfers living three or two to a room will then be able to move into the vacated rooms by those who moved into the new hall.
Details of what exactly the incentives will encompass and the overall living situation will be revealed at the earliest after spring break.
Shepard is confident that with the new hall being built there will be no more struggles to place students as there will be 960 beds on campus and at North. There are 540 students expected to return to campus housing next year leaving roughly around 400 free beds, which according to Shepard, will be more than enough to house incoming freshmen and transfers.
Queens has no plans to stop expanding any time soon. According to Shepard, there are currently discussions about building a “mirror” image of the residence hall currently being built to be located right next to it. The timetable for that project to be completed has not yet been set. Is there anyone is specific “talking” about this mirror? Campus planning office or residence hall people?
Shepard wants students to know that Residence Life is not out there to “trick” them into living on campus. He realizes that this is a difficult time for students. “Upperclassmen shouldn’t have regrets for staying on campus” said Shepard.
The residence hall, which will be a “super suite,” is a combination of the living conditions in Wireman and North Halls. The new hall will have a common area with a bathroom and will be equipped with either four single rooms or two double rooms. These apartments will not be equipped with a kitchen however.