On January 30, the department of Residence Life announced the closing of AU’s South Campus Apartments. Three months later, in the midst of a national pandemic, this announcement was reversed.
According to Maggie Platt, director of Residence Life and Student Conduct, the nearly-50-year-old apartment complex was being sold due to fewer students seeking apartment housing.
“When we looked at the number of students who applied for housing, we were going to have quite a few empty spaces spread throughout our facilities,” said Platt. “To be efficient with our utilities and staffing, we planned to consolidate those empty spaces. By closing South and some floors in other buildings, we would move people closer together, build tight-knit communities and save some costs.”
On May 1, it was announced that the university would not be closing South Campus Apartments. Platt explained that the reasons behind keeping the apartment complex open to students were two-fold.
“First and most important, we heard from students about how disappointed they were,” Platt said. “Second, as we prepare to come back to campus in this era of COVID-19, we knew many students would feel more comfortable having their own room. Our plan to close facilities would make it nearly impossible to accommodate requests for private rooms. So, after much planning, we determined the best way to serve our students would be to lower the price of private rooms and reopen all of the spaces that we had planned to close.”
Upon returning to campus in the fall, Platt explained that students can expect to find numerous updates to these apartments. The Physical Plant Department has been updating the interior of South Campus Apartments, including common spaces and restrooms.
“The one silver lining I have found to campus being closed is that we have had time to get into these buildings and really look for ways to improve them,” said Platt. “The normal school calendar leads straight into summer usage of our facilities by camps and conferences, which made it hard to update the apartments. This hard season has given us the gift of time.”
Another change that students will find in the fall is the number of students assigned to each apartment.
“We have lowered the occupancy to one student per bedroom, rather than two students per bedroom,” Platt said.
Platt explained that these changes have been made in order to remain in line with the campus-wide social distancing efforts and policies. “Our goal is to serve our residential students to the best of our ability,” said Platt. “If any student has suggestions for how we can do better, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.”