Centennial Courts are fresh, not full

Shelley Blundell

They’re brand new, they have new carpets, fresh paint and a shiny exterior — so why aren’t they full?

Centennial Courts, the new residence halls located on the north side of the university, are not attracting as many students as anticipated.

Construction of the buildings was financed through bonds, and the university must budget appropriately each semester to meet its financial obligations.

Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services, said the university puts together a budget proposal for every fall and spring semester and accounts for a decline in occupancy of on-campus housing during the spring semester.

“We always anticipate fewer students living on-campus during the spring semesters, either because they get internships or student teaching positions, they graduate or they decide to leave the university,” Joseph said.

She also said the budget was financially sound for this year’s period, despite the lack of residents in the courts.

Stopher and Johnson halls, which will be under construction until Spring 2006, will be both an addition to and a replacement of some of the university’s existing residence halls.

“We will not be using Terrace Hall after the spring, as it is in need of general renovation and construction — there are a number of repairs that need to be made to different buildings on campus,” Joseph said.

One of the recent major concerns for Residence Services is the rise in incidents of vandalism in on-campus residences.

“I don’t know if it’s cabin fever or what, but we’ve had quite a few incidents of just general destruction of property this semester,” Joseph said.

Amy Tucker, sophomore English major, lives in Centennial Court A and said the rise in vandalism, especially in her building, disgusts her.

“It’s really aggravating — I’m paying a lot of money to live here, and it’s starting to look really bad,” Tucker said.

“It’s not nice to walk down the stairs and see bits of plywood nailed to your wall,” she said.

In accordance with university policy concerning on-campus living, all incidents of vandalism are investigated and reported to the police.

“We are doing an investigation into the rise of vandalism, and we work with the police and judicial affairs to stop it,” Joseph said.

Joseph also said there has been an increase in on-campus occupancy.

“Over the last four or five years, a larger number of students have chosen to remain on-campus past their sophomore year, so the decision to rebuild Stopher/Johnson was made with that in mind.”

But Tucker said she noticed a lot of empty rooms, especially in the Centennial Courts.

|“I don’t really know if there are any less people living here than last year, but I have seen a lot of rooms without name tags,” Tucker said.

As far as layout for the new residence halls, Joseph said the university will have a different configuration for Stopher/Johnson rooms as more and more students request single-occupancy rooms.

“We have to look at all those issues — we’re currently working on the budget proposal for next year,” Joseph said.

Contact general assignment reporter Shelley Blundell at [email protected].