BY BRANDAN BLOM // MAY 3, 2013 //
A record number of students are seeking on-campus housing next semester. The only problem is that Curry now has more students than beds.
According to Erik Muurisepp, director of Residence Life & Housing, 816 returning students have submitted deposits to live on campus starting in the fall. The college is expecting that approximately 590 incoming freshmen will also need to live on campus, for a total of 1,406 residential students. That’s 26 more students than this past fall, when Curry dorms were so overcrowded that 33 lounges had to be converted into dorm rooms.
Back then, Murrisepp said it was likely a one-time problem. “I think we will be able to plan better,” he said last November. “We will be more open and honest with the students in the future.”
However, Curry again chose not to limit the number of returning students who could receive on-campus housing. Room and board for the 2013-14 academic year is $13,130, a $370 increase from this year.
“This is a good problem to have,” Muurisepp recently said about having so many returning students seek on-campus housing. “It means students are enjoying their time on campus.”
Curry is exploring two short-term options to deal with the problem. First, residence hall lounges will again be converted into dorm rooms. Upperclassmen have already been given the option to live in a converted lounge in NCRH, 886, Milton Hall or White House. Students who have previously lived in one of the converted spaces have said they enjoyed it, while other students have lamented the loss of shared lounge space.
In addition, the college is considering housing students in an off-campus hotel.
Housing students in a hotel isn’t too out of the ordinary. Curry actually did it about eight years ago, Murrisepp said, but things did not go particularly well. Specifically, students caused a lot of damage to the rooms and facilities.
This time around, “We are looking at the hotel as if it is one of our residence halls,” said Muurisepp, adding that the college is looking at Homewood Suites, a Hilton hotel located in Canton near the Hillside Pub on the Canton/Milton line off of Route 138. “The damage policies are the same.”
The goal, according to Muurisepp, is to recreate the same community feeling that students get on campus. If Curry decides to house students in a hotel, a new community director will be hired to oversee those students. There will also be at least one RA living in the hotel; the number of RA’s is determined by the amount of students under their charge.
Students interested in living in a hotel could apply to do so. “We want to be respectful to the people staying in the hotel and only select those students that will be good members of the community,” Murrisepp said.
Jimmy Hill, a freshman criminal justice major, believes Curry made the right decision in accepting all applicants for on-campus housing, even though space is limited. “Everyone who wants to live on campus should be able to,” said Hill. “They are paying for it, so the school should make it happen.”
Conversely, Skyler Wack, a freshman communication major, said the college should have limited the number of students who could receive on-campus housing. “I don’t support their decision, but I understand it,” he said. “They should build another building.”
Constructing another residence hall is something the college has discussed, Murrisepp said, but it certainly won’t happen in time for next year.