Residence Life reveals plans for hall renovations

Jessica May

The housing crunch on South Campus last fall generated confusion in terms of housing and rooming situations.

Now that the spring semester is well under way, rumors are circulating about what changes are expected to take place in on-campus residence facilities.

According to Marie Schauder, assistant director of housing services in Residence Life, several South Campus residence halls will experience “face-lifts” over the summer in an effort to slowly renovate and update these facilities.

“Caughlin and McGuire will be renovated similar to the way in which St. Monica and Katharine were renovated this past summer,” Schauder said. “There will be new paint and windows that open – which we’re excited about – as well as new bathrooms.”

The remodeling process of the second floor of Stanford Hall is nearly complete, and Good Counsel Hall should receive an updated lounge area as well during the upcoming summer months.

“We’re moving forward by taking one or two halls at a time and completely updating them,” Schauder said. “I would rather do one hall at a time than piece-meal projects.”

Rising sophomores living in Sheehan or Sullivan Hall will benefit from new carpeting and painting that will be completed this summer.

Residence Life plans to renovate Fedigan Hall during the summer of 2008.

The campus will not face physical changes alone next year. Residence Life will not offer incentives to sophomores to live in Good Counsel in the fall of 2007. Due to the stabilization of class sizes, West Campus apartment housing will no longer be guaranteed to those who opt to stay on South Campus, a major perk for sophomores this past fall.

While Good Counsel and Fedigan will continue to house a mix of underclassmen, the exact ratio of sophomores to freshmen living in these facilities will not be determined until the Class of 2011 is finalized.

Residence Life is also unsure how many freshmen and sophomores will be asked to triple next year, making it difficult for students to choose roommates.

“We always get creative over the summer when vacancies arise,” Schauder said. “We’ll find a place for everyone, though.”

There are few housing vacancies during the school year, which affects not only on-campus students but also transfer students. However, since transfers are not initially guaranteed housing, they are given the option to apply for room changes as living situations change on campus during the year.

Residence Life hopes that it will eventually be able to offer transfer students on-campus housing options in the near future.

“Does Residence Life feel that living off campus is an easy thing for a transfer? No,” Schauder said. “It’s not ideal, but at least we have some options that can arise during the year.”

Another major recurring issue during sophomore and junior lottery periods is the desire for priority housing.

“There are so many reasons that people are unhappy with housing,” Schauder said. “I get so many phone calls from students saying, ‘Well I was in a triple this year, so I should get priority housing on campus.’ The problem is, if we base priority housing on triples alone, over half of the freshman class alone would be given this opportunity.”

While the Office of Residence Life isn’t going to be able to please every student that experienced a difficult living situation this past year, the random lottery system has worked well over the years and the administration plans on sticking to it.

“You have to make the best of where you live,” Schauder said.

Lottery information is scheduled to be sent to rising sophomores during the week of March 22. Brochures will also be mailed in order to explain the process and provide important dates to applicants and parents.

Other important dates are posted on the Office of Residence Life’s Web site, which can be accessed through Villanova’s official site.