Some residents in on-campus housing have been placed in rooms not typically used for housing, like lounges and study rooms, due to an overbooking of housing caused by Cooper Hall being closed for renovations during the 2018-2019 school year.
Housing has placed students in rooms that would be similar in size to a traditional double occupancy room, said Margaret Watts, associate director of student housing.
The renovations of Cooper Hall, which entered the planning phase in June 2017, were always planned to occur during the 2018-2019 school year, said James Estelle, assistant director of facilities and overseer of the renovations.
The project is too big to be done during the summer, Estelle said. The work being done involves changing the HVAC systems, plumbing, insulations and updating finishes and floorings, he said.
“Fixing any one thing at once would be hugely expensive,” Estelle said. “Many things are still in working shape, but we wanted to take the opportunity to upgrade it all at once.”
Cooper has the capacity of 184 beds.
“Being short on housing space is not new to colleges or housing,” Watts said.
Housing uses predictive models that measure how many applications come in along with what the current occupancy is at to determine how much space they have available, she said.
“This year there were a lot of people applying later in the year which threw off what we were expecting,” Watts said.
Housing notified the students who were put in the nontraditional rooms a couple of weeks before they moved in, Watts said.
In West Hall there are six students living in converted lounges and other students living in triples which are not normally filled, said Maddie Bellew, resident director of West Hall.
These students use restrooms which are located in other residents’ suites down the hall from the lounges, said Bellew.
“We framed it as a disconnected suite,” said Bellew.
There is less space available in housing this year, Watts said. Room changes are still being offered to those who want to change rooms and to those living in the lounges who would like to move to a traditional room but it has been harder to fulfill room change requests than in years past, she said.
There are also fewer public lounge spaces available in the affected halls this year. Because of the lack of lounge spaces, certain halls did not have their lounges converted because it would make more of an impact on that hall’s community, said Watts.
The renovations are expected to be completed in August 2019, Estelle said.
This is a developing story. Visit theindyonline.com for updates.