Huge incoming class requires housing flexibility

Samantha Midkiff, Reporter

Megan Oldak
A cramped triple room located in McHale Hall.
Megan Oldak
From left to right: Lauren Schuster, first year speech language
pathology major, and Jennifer Klobe, first year occupational
therapy student in their traditional-style room in McHale Hall.

The university welcomed  the third largest class in history this year, with 435 new first year students and 77 transfers and officials have had to create flexible housing solutions to accommodate everyone.

Of the new class, 365 first year and 12 transfer students signed up for campus housing, said AJ Nudo, Director of Residence Life. While the number of incoming students who requested campus housing was similar to that of 2016, the number of returning students who wanted space in the dorms was higher than usual.

Nudo said he considers students’ class years and ages when making housing assignments, and he attempts to separate younger students from those who are over the age 21. He said the number of beds that can be placed in dorms is limited by codes, but McHale Hall has the capacity for additional beds, and officials can create triple rooms,  if needed. This year it was needed, he said.

But this is not the first time that McHale Hall has been packed with beds. In 2012, the football team’s inaugural year, the university marked the largest incoming class for Residence Life, even if it was not the largest class in history. 

MacDowell Hall was built the same year , but there still wasn’t enough space for everyone without adding more beds.

“I want to say the most we put up [in McHale Hall] was adding 40 additional students, [and] that was the football year,” said Nudo. “This year was only a handful,” he said.

This is the first time in two years that Nudo has needed to put triples in McHale, and because rooms can get a little crowded and tight, he has received  complaints from students.

“Triples are not meant to be permanent,” said Nudo.  

 He said students may change their mind about living on campus or attending the university and rooms open up throughout the semester. Nudo said he tries to move students into those rooms to eliminate the tripling  and make students more comfortable.

Falon Nonnemacher, a first year mass communications and design major,  lived in a triple room on third floor of McHale Hall.

“It really sucks to be honest,” said Nonnemacher.

She said simply moving throughout the room is a challenge.  If if her roommate was at the sink, she could not go around her and had to maneuver around the ladder of her lofted bed to get through the space.

“It’s a pain, especially when you first wake up,” said Nonnemacher.

 She said when spats between roommates happen, as they sometimes will, students in  a triple are stuck without personal space.

“Our friendship may have lasted longer if we weren’t in the triple,” said Nonnemacher. 

Nudo found a place for Nonnemacher to debunk the last triple in McHale.

The largest class the University has ever seen was in 2015 with 514 new students, only three more students than football’s inaugural year, with an incoming class of 511 students –  70 or 80 for football alone, according to Glenn Bozinski, Vice President of Enrollment Management.