When housing contract renewals are e-mailed to students Tuesday, those wishing to live in Drackett Tower or Scott House next year will be disappointed.
Starting Autumn Quarter 2011, the two North Campus dormitories will be converted temporarily to first-year-only residence halls, said Thyrone Henderson, associate director for University Residences and Dining Services.
Henderson said the move is in response to construction on the South High Rise Renovation and Addition Project on South Campus, which will leave Park and Stradley halls closed next year.
“We’re losing beds,” Henderson said.
The closing of Park and Stradley will eliminate 816 beds, said Molly Ranz Calhoun, assistant vice president of Student Life to The Lantern in October.
“We look at our housing community as one system,” Henderson said. “If we pull beds from one area, we need to find ways to replace those in another area.”
Henderson said making Drackett and Scott first-year residence halls was the university’s most efficient option to overcome the bane of closing two 11-story dorms. Unlike the other North Campus towers, the rooms in Drackett are large enough to convert into quad-style rooms and would provide the most space for next year’s freshmen.
“(The rooms in Jones Tower) were designed as single rooms,” Henderson said. “They’re very small. And there are some doubles in Taylor Tower, but we would be able to yield more in quad-ing Drackett.”
The conversion will add nearly 350 beds to Drackett and 100 to Scott, Henderson said. The Upper Class Learning Community, currently located in Drackett, will be moved to the Lane Avenue Residence Hall.
Drackett and Scott will remain strictly first-year residence halls until at least Autumn Quarter 2013, when the South High Rise construction is slated to end, Henderson said. Whether they will return to upper-classmen dorms is still undecided.
“The high rise is being constructed with first-years in mind,” he said. “Once those buildings go back to housing first-years, perhaps we look at making (Drackett and Scott) an upper-class community again.”
For students currently living in Drackett and Scott, the news was met with mixed emotions.
Cindy Molnar, a second-year in microbiology, said she was not sure if she was going to return to Drackett Tower or move off campus next year, but the switch made the decision for her.
“It was kind of sad because it took away the option (to live on campus),” Molnar said.
Other students said the change was irrelevant to them.
“I’ve already signed a lease for off campus,” said Lauren Christman, a second-year in marketing and Drackett resident. “Most of my friends live off campus too, so I don’t really know anybody it’s affecting.”
Hannah Thompson, a second-year in psychology, lives in Scott House and said she was unaware of the switch, but her plans haven’t changed.
“I am applying to be an RA (resident adviser) anyway,” Thompson said. “And if that doesn’t happen, I am planning to live in an upper-class dorm, like Worthington (Building).”