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Ohio State study rooms converted into housing

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Late-night cram sessions, floor meetings, quiet alone time – you name it, the common study rooms in dorms have been used for almost everything.
But this year, as construction runs rampant on campus, some on-campus residents are being forced to live in the study rooms.
“The study rooms, we used them for almost everything,” said Anna Killion, a third-year in sculpture and Baker Hall West resident. “I know I used them a lot as a gathering place for people on the floor … the study room would be sort of a hub.”
Dorms such as Steeb Hall, Smith Hall and Seibert Hall are shut down, and students like Killion are feeling the effects.
In dorms such as Baker Hall West, areas typically designated for students to study with their peers separate from their dorm rooms are being used for extra living space.
Phillip Dindal, a first-year in mathematics, is one of the students living in a study room in Baker Hall West this year, with three roommates. So far his impression of the new living arrangement is positive.
“We do like having the extra space, but if you think about it, we have a similar amount of space,” he said.
Another student living in Baker Hall West said he thought his room was “quite a bit bigger” than most other doubles in the building. Scott Miller, a first-year in mathematics, said he enjoyed having the extra space and bigger windows.
When Miller got his housing assignment, he said he didn’t really know what his room would be like.
“We didn’t really know that we were going to be in a different size room until when we got there,” he said.
Miller shares the room with one other student, and said that his experience has changed his mind about living off campus next year.
“I was pretty convinced when I got here that I was going to try and get a house next year, but now I’m thinking I might stay in the dorms again,” he said.
Students living in the study rooms pay the same housing rate as other students in traditional rooms in those buildings.
Baker Halls East and West, along with Park-Stradley Hall and the Ohio Union were evacuated last month due to a water main break on Sept. 16. Baker Halls residents were allowed to return to their buildings on the morning on Sept. 17 after only one night evacuated, while Park-Stradley residents were without their regular housing for three nights.
The South Campus residence hall renovations are part of a $171 million construction project, aimed at renovating older buildings and adding new ones.
A $396 million North Campus renovation plan was approved at the August Board of Trustees meeting. The project is expected to add about 3,800 total new beds to campus, making the number of beds on North Campus total about 6,300. Construction on the project is scheduled in begin in July and be completed in June 2016. Jay Kasey, senior vice president of administration and planning, said at the August meeting four residence halls, Blackburn, Haverfield, Nosker and Scott houses, will be demolished.
Scott Conlon, director for projects for Facilities Design and Construction, said the eventual goal of these projects is to relieve the stress on the dorms and reduce overcrowding.
“I think at the time that (the long-term goal of the projects) was just to increase capacity slightly,” Scott said.
The increased capacity coincides directly with the university’s push to have second-year students live on campus an extra year. Although it is unclear if, or even when, these new rules will be put into effect, Conlon said OSU is preparing as if it is a done deal.
“I think it is obviously dovetailing nicely with President (E. Gordon) Gee’s initiative to have sophomores return to living on campus,” Conlon said.
Gee aims to have all second-year students living on campus by fall 2015.

Daniel Chi contributed to this article.

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