Upon returning to AU next school year, students can expect to see campus-wide renovations taking place in both the residence halls and apartments. Strategic planning for the long-term project has been taking place for some time, and AU is now prepared to implement the wide-range updates to living quarters on campus.
Those looking to reside in the various apartments on campus next year can expect fewer options available to them compared to the current school year. Fair Commons will be the only available on-campus apartment complex open next year, with Tara East and South Campus set to be closed for the entirety of the school year. University Terrace will only be housing interns and graduate assistants.
Additionally, the price to live in Fair Commons has been raised from $3,680 per semester to $4,150 per semester.
Each residence hall on campus will be closing a single floor for renovation per year, with the goal of updating most of the residence halls in five short years. Maggie Platt, director of residence life and student conduct, hopes that needed repairs to the residence halls fix most of the long-term issues some of the buildings currently have.
“Something that most students do not know is that our residence halls are used year-round,” Platt explained. “After students leave in May, they are quickly cleaned and then used all summer for camps and conferences. There is another quick turnaround in August before students arrive. By closing some floors and wings in the residence halls for a year, we will have time to go in, address long-term issues and improve the building. Our hope is to close one floor a year, rotating around the building so that within 5 years the buildings have been completely updated. This is an exciting, long-term project meant to improve the student experience. We are still working to decide exactly which floor will be closed in each building.”
Dan Teater, a current Resident Assistant in Smith Hall, wonders how closing a floor in each residence hall will affect the number of residents in the buildings.
“I question how they plan on having an entire floor closed when we do not have too many open rooms as it is,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how students’ living plans change with this news.”
Platt hopes that by combining the usually separate room draw and apartment draw events that take place in Reardon Auditorium, a large amount of potential confusion will be relieved. With the draws being combined this year, students staying on campus next year will have the benefit of more immediately knowing what housing options are available to them. Platt’s aim for combining the two housing draws is to help students “know in real-time what is available to choose.”
Platt explained her understanding of the concern and uncertainty students may feel with the renovations closing down certain housing options on campus.
“Change can be painful, especially if these changes require someone to change the vision of where they thought they would live in the coming years,” said Platt. “I personally lived in South Campus when I was a student, and I loved my year there. I hope students will understand that this was a long, thought out decision, with many meetings involving students, staff and the President and Vice Presidents. Sometimes we have to make painful decisions because they move the university forward toward our mission and core values. In these circumstances, the ‘moving forward’ is consolidating our students into fewer spaces so that community can flourish and so that we can be more efficient and responsible with the utilities, energy consumption and resources it takes to keep facilities open.”
Students looking for more details on next year’s housing plans can email AU’s housing office or Maggie Platt personally.