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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Students face dorm shortage

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Naish Malisetty, a pre-business freshman from Boston, is greeted by a Graha- Greenlee RA before being escorted to his temporary room.Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Colin Darland
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat Naish Malisetty, a pre-business freshman from Boston, is greeted by a Graha- Greenlee RA before being escorted to his temporary room.Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Nearly 300 students who moved into residence halls on campus this weekend will likely experience another move before the fall semester is over.

All of the UA’s 22 residence halls have created temporary housing in order to provide students a place to live until space clears up in the dorms, said Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life and University Housing.

The university expects to begin moving students out of temporary living spaces as early as next weekend, but it may take up to a semester to relocate students into their permanent dorm rooms, he said.

“”Will we move all of them by the first weekend? Probably not, but we’ll have a good number (moved),”” he said. Students who applied last for campus housing, before Residence Life started to waitlist applicants, were placed in temporary housing. Currently, these students are being charged the lowest on-campus housing rate of $2,904 for the whole semester. If and when they move to permanent housing, their rent will be adjusted based on their new hall assignment.

A handful of residence hall guest apartments, usually reserved for visitors to the university, have been temporarily assigned to some of the displaced students. Aerospace engineering freshman John Inman is living in one of these apartments in Coronado Residence Hall. Inman said that while the room is large and well-furnished, its location on the ground floor of the hall, where there are no other rooms, has made it difficult for him to meet new people.

However, Inman added, “”I have my own kitchen, so I have a massive refrigerator and freezer. I’m making breakfast in the morning, and I have popsicles and stuff, so it’s pretty cool.””

In addition, some residence hall study rooms have been converted into bedrooms furnished with beds, dressers, desks and chairs. Unlike the apartments, the study rooms are located on the same floors other students live on. Residence Life keeps some surplus furniture in storage for temporary housing. Also, some converted study rooms were furnished with new furniture already purchased for the new residence halls.

“”The study rooms are usually a little bigger than student rooms, so they’re certainly not bad places to be,”” Van Arsdel said.

Faith Flynn, an undecided freshman from North Haledon, N.J., is staying in a converted study room of Navajo-Pinal residence hall with a roommate.

Flynn said the situation isn’t that bad, but there is no cable hookup for television, and the room is furnished with two metal racks to hang clothes on, instead of closets. “”It’s good that I have a place to live, but it’s just annoying that I have to move again, especially not knowing how far I’ll have to move,”” Flynn said. “”But, I do have a place to live, and I’m on campus, so it is what it is.””

Flynn wasn’t completely sure she was going to attend the UA until close to the extended deadline to sign up for on-campus housing in May. This is the reason she was chosen as one of the temporary residents, although she wasn’t told until the first week of August, she said.

“”They said I’m guaranteed a spot with housing, but it’s going to be temporary,”” Flynn said.

Residence Life told Flynn she would either be living in a study area, with a resident assistant, or even in a hotel as a last resort.

“”And they didn’t know for how long,”” Flynn said. “”It could be for a few days, a few months or a whole semester.””

Pre-business freshman Naish Malisetty faces a similar situation in Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall, although his temporary housing is in an actual dorm room. Until vacancies open up — either through late cancellations, no-shows or students who decide to move out of the residence halls — Malisetty is staying with a resident assistant, one of about 130 of approximately 200 campus-wide RAs who currently have a temporary roommate, Van Arsdel said.

Malisetty, like Flynn, applied for campus housing late, as he chose the UA from seven other schools the Boston native was accepted into.

“”It’s a big school,”” Malisetty said. “”But it’s partially my fault because I applied so late.””

An estimated 38,800 students begin classes today, including about 7,000 freshmen. The UA houses approximately 6,350 students, made up mostly of freshmen.

“”We just live in an unpredictable world,”” Van Arsdel said. “”Some years are up and some years are down. We started out thinking this year might very well be a down year (as far as freshmen attendance goes) because the economy was so unpredictable.””

Van Arsdel added that this unpredictability is a primary factor in the space crunch, because it can be difficult to know until very late how many students will actually need rooms.

Some help is on the way in the form of two new residence halls currently being built near Sixth Street. These halls will house 1,088 students when they open in the fall of 2011.

In the meantime, Residence Life has leased the former Alpha Chi Omega sorority house to serve as a permanent residence hall for the next three years, providing much-needed housing while the new dorms are built. Forty-eight students are assigned to that living space for the year, Van Arsdel said.

This isn’t the first time temporary housing has been used for residence life students. In 2001, computer labs were converted into temporary living areas.

“”The university is trying to make the best of the situation, and tries to use spaces that won’t have a negative impact on residents,”” Van Arsdel said. “”It is actually having a significantly positive impact on those 290 people who otherwise wouldn’t be living on campus.””

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