Boro Housing: University Makes Changes to Student Housing

Category:  News
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 at 9:31 PM
Boro Housing: University Makes Changes to Student Housing  by Macala Leigey
The honors students, currently located in Earp Hall, will be living in Rose Hall beginning in Fall 2016. Earp Hall will be closed, unless reopened for another purpose.

Walking down the long, grayish, concretelined hallways to the fluorescent filled community bathrooms, with their royal blue stalls and egg-yolk colored shower curtains, will be a thing of the past. The metallic elevator slowly clanking its way through the hollow shaft, and then hesitating ever so slightly before opening its doors, will no longer be a daily worry. Returning each day to the quaint, snug dorm rooms, of which some students call home, will be replaced by something less familiar.

Starting next semester, Edinboro University students will no longer have the option to live in the traditional dorm building Earp Hall. As a response to the drop in enrollment, the university has decided to close Earp Hall and condense students to Rose Hall.

“Because of the drop in enrollment, the university is planning to consolidate traditional style housing in Rose Hall,” Edinboro Director of Communications Jeffrey Hileman said.

Hileman shared that the amount of students living in Earp and Rose Hall now could condense to Rose Hall and still have space to spare.

“Consolidating would maximize the use of one building, and save maintenance, staffing, [and] heating costs in the other building.”

Hileman also mentioned that consolidating students to one building would improve students’ social experience.

“It also provides a better student experience to be in a full building. There’s more opportunities for interaction.”

Although it will be closed for student housing, Earp Hall will remain intact as a spare building, and could potentially reopen in the future.

“There’s some expectation that a future use, or an alternative use, for the Earp space might be suggested,” Hileman said. He went on to say that Rose Hall was chosen for the consolidation process, instead of Earp, due to Rose’s capacity limit and housing of essential campus facilities.

“Rose was chosen over Earp because it is larger, [and] has the dining facilities attached, which is very convenient for students.”

Resident Life and Housing Director Amy Franklin-Craft added that Rose was also chosen over Earp because of its handicap accessibility.

“Several years ago the first floor of Rose Hall was refurbished, such that all of therooms on [the] first floor can accommodate students who are non-ambulatory, and that’s not a program you easily just shift to another residence hall.”

Franklin-Craft and Hileman both mentioned that Rose is currently under construction and will continue to be improved before the fall semester.

“Some more improvements are going to be made over the summer, to make the building as comfortable and appealing to students as it can be,” Hileman said.

The newest addition to Rose Hall will be the new elevator, which is currently being installed. Other specific improvements to the traditional housing building have yet to be announced.

In response to the closure of Earp Hall, many students have mixed feelings on the situation. These students include those involved in the Dr. Robert C. Weber Honors Program, who have utilized Earp as their main living area and office building.

“I can understand why it’s necessary, but I can also understand why people are mad about it, because they’re forcing us to leave our way that we’ve known for quite a while,” current Earp Hall resident and honors program member Rachel Guzak said.

Also a present resident of Earp Hall and honors member, Michaela Brennan, added to what Guzak said, “I think it’s ridiculous [the closure of Earp], but I guess it’s necessary since the university can’t pay for all these buildings cause they don’t have enough students.”

In addition to the closure of Earp Hall, the university is partaking in a space study, which is being conducted by a “consultant.” The space study focuses on the university’s use of on-campus space and facilities.

“It’s part of an overall plan to evolve the campus for the 21st century,” Hileman said.

With the implementation of the space study and the closure of Earp, the university is hoping to increase student enrollment within the next few years.

“The expectation is that our [Edinboro’s] enrollment will continue to be down somewhat from its peak, [and] we’re hoping to reverse that trend as quickly as possible,” Hileman said.

The university is also in the process of switching over the ownership of the Highland buildings from the Edinboro University Foundation to the university.

“The expectation is that the change in ownership and management of those buildings will result in savings that will help control housing costs for students,” Hileman said.

And according to some students, housing cost is a main issue that needs addressed.

“They’re expensive. I pay half of what I paid for a semester on campus to live off campus,” former Highlands resident Shayna Caine said.

Current Highlands 7 resident Aaron Rath added to Caine’s statement, by saying, “I think the Highlands is a great place to be, however, it can be a little pricey.”

Another housing change expected to take effect next semester is the addition of the Frederick Douglass Social Justice Community in Highlands 6.

“It’s [the Frederick Douglass Social Justice Community] designed for students who are interested in effecting social change, and that can be in a whole variety of disciplines,” Franklin-Craft said.

Franklin-Craft also shared that the Frederick Douglass living community has been a work in progress and was originally expected to be launched last year.

“Because it’s [the Frederick Douglass living community] not academically based, it’s a little more challenging to have students understand what it’s about. I think we’re going to have to nurse it along a little bit until it gets going.”

Along with the numerous changes in housing, some things will stay the same. Highlands 2 will still serve as the First-Year Experience housing area, while the foursemester housing contracts for all on-campus housing options will stay.

“Students who live on campus when they come in as freshmen or transfers, they’re obligated to [live here for] four whole semesters,” Franklin- Craft said.

Franklin-Craft also mentioned that no changes are expected to be made to the four-semester on-campus housing contract.

“There are educational reasons behind it [the foursemester on-campus contract]. Students are more likely to become involved in the campus community when they’re on campus, [and] they’re more likely to have higher grade point averages,” Franklin-Craft said.

However, certain situations, such as medical or personal issues, can be negotiated to relieve a student of his or her contract. A student’s credentials also play a part in the housing contracts. If a student has “completed at least 59 credit hours,” then he or she is able to opt out of the housing contract.

The housing sign-up process for the 2016 fall semester began Monday, Feb. 29. Students with questions or concerns regarding the changes in housing are encouraged to visit the Resident Life and Housing office on the second floor of the Frank G. Pogue Student Center.

Macala Leigey is the News Editor for The Spectator and she can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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