Students do not sleep in hotels, lounges
Despite waiting for a record number of freshmen to start classes today, Indiana University has enough rooms in Bloomington to accommodate all students enrolled to live in university accommodation this fall.
By reopening dorms after renovations, building a new residential center, and renting out local apartments, IU should avoid previous scenarios where students had to sleep in dorm rooms or hotel rooms.
According to Sara Ivey Lucas, who oversees residential life at IU Bloomington, students won’t see a repeat of the spillover issues of years past.
“(There will be) no overflow housing in the traditional way people might have lived in 2007 or 2011, some of the last times we did,” she predicted last week. “So (the students) don’t go to the living rooms. “
The lack of need for additional accommodation may come as a surprise to some, in light of the closure of the Collins Living Learning Center for refurbishment and the UI having accepted nearly 9,400 incoming freshmen for this semester (not all were supposed to register).
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Various factors were added to give IU enough units, including the reopening of the McNutt and Foster quadrangles and the opening of a new facility in Walnut Grove. The actual number of students will not be available until classes start
“The math has just played in our favor this year,” said Ivey Lucas. “We have the lease with Avenue (on College), we have opened the 450 beds in Walnut Grove. McNutt and Foster are now fully open. Teter is fully open.
“In the fall of 2019, when McNutt, Foster and half of Teter were closed, we had a total of approximately 11,300 students living in our unfurnished apartments and all of our furnished residence spaces,” said Ivey Lucas.
With the various openings, re-openings and rentals, IU expects to welcome approximately 12,750 students this fall without exceeding capacity.
A little boost to IU’s Bloomington housing inventory came from the salvage of some of the buildings engaged in coronavirus quarantine measures. Thanks to the higher vaccination rates at the IUB, the university leadership felt it was safe to limit quarantine and isolation accommodation to two buildings at the Ashton Residence Center.
“That extra buffer helped, as we have about 150 students going to be living in this regular part of Ashton,” said Ivey Lucas. “Last year, at the height of COVID and our expectations for the use of this space, there were 530 beds that were seated, not empty because we had students in and out of them for COVID, but 535 spaces almost untouchable for general use. “
While Ashton’s spaces provided some cushioning, Ivey Lucas says they weren’t essential to fully housing students this year. Next fall will bring some uncertainty, however, as the university’s lease with College Avenue will expire at the end of this academic year. However, Ivey Lucas says there’s no reason to be concerned at this point.
“(Losing the Avenue) is removing 700 beds from our inventory, so that tightens us up in terms of what we’re going to have to do. Now we’re going to get Collins back… so that helps us with almost half of that. There are things that we will have to do and we will have to be a little more selective and the students will have to tell us sooner if they are a returning student and if they want to return to campus next year.