Housing in high demand

University Housing at Northern Kentucky University has almost reached its capacity level of 1,360 students, creating problems for those living on and wanting to live on campus this school year.

There are approximately 1,285 students living on campus this semester, up from 1,121 students in the spring semester. Freshmen that applied for housing last May and June are being assigned to Woodcrest Apartments due to the lack of availability in the traditional dorms of Kentucky and Commonwealth Halls. Currently, there are approximately 800 freshmen living on campus, and about 100 of them are living in Woodcrest Apartments.

Matt Brown, director of University Housing, said, “Returning students get first priority and there were enough returning students to fill up Kentucky and Commonwealth. The late applications were turned to Woodcrest Apartments.”

The freshmen living in Woodcrest are still paying the normal rates for the apartments despite applying for the traditional dorms. Currently, to live in a double occupancy assignment in Woodcrest residents are paying about $2,200 per semester. This compares to about $1,300 per semester in the traditional double occupancy dorms such as Kentucky or Commonwealth Halls, a difference of $900 per semester.

“I like Woodcrest and I love the arrangement, I just don’t like the prices,” said Sarah Stange, a freshman living in Woodcrest. The increase in prices has forced her into finding employment, leaving her with less time for class, homework and free time. “It was also discussed that I might commute to school everyday,” Stange said.

Freshman Kiyoka Wells also enjoys living in Woodcrest. “I love the freedom and arrangement . The fees are the bad part,” Wells said.

Overcrowding is a concern for the staff of University Housing.

According to Brown, there were about 100 students who requested private arrangements, and in June it was realized it was not possible to accommodate them. Brown said that it is always an issue that people will decide not to live on campus because they cannot receive the assignment they want.

“Our primary concern is to give everyone housing who wants it,” Brown said.

The freshmen students living in Woodcrest have been paired up with other freshmen. University Housing paid extra attention not to pair up freshmen with seniors. In Woodcrest Apartments, students have one bedroom, one bathroom, a common living room and a kitchenette. There are a few instances in Norse Hall where freshmen and seniors are in the same apartment, but separate rooms.

One concern the freshmen living in Woodcrest have is the inability to meet people as easily as living in Kentucky or Commonwealth.

“Campus life has been boring so far. I haven’t been able to meet people because of the apartment style living,” Wells said.

She suggests more involvement and more programs to get everyone out and meeting each other. She believes that freshman year is a crucial year to develop relationships with other people – relationships that might last a lifetime.

In order to accommodate the growing population of residents, Meadowview Apartments may become available to the university in 2006. Meadowview Apartments are located by the baseball and softball fields. This option would have to be approved by the Board of Regents.

If acquired, these apartments would house upperclassmen, law students, graduate students, and married students – a new concept at NKU. In two to three years, it is also possible that a new dormitory or building could be added to the village. This new dormitory could hold more freshmen or other student organizations, creating more available space for incoming freshmen. These additions would not only add more space for students to live on campus, but would also bring more unity to campus, allowing it to be a central location for all events.

Brown would like to see Greek housing moved on campus, however nothing is in the works at this point.

NKU is in a transition mode right now. There have been steps taken to lift the commuter tag off the university and make it more of a traditional university.

There are events being hosted throughout the semester in the University Housing village, and students do not have to live on campus to attend. For more information about these events, call University Housing at 572-5676.