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Students caught in housing crunch

By Amanda Hickey
Senior Staff Writer

UNCP’s housing is filled to capacity. There are approximately 1,400 students residing on campus, according to Preston Swiney, dean of students and director of housing and residence life.

“There aren’t any freshman and new students who need an assignment,”  Swiney said.            

West Hall is full, including its lounge.  There are 25 rooms in Wellons Hall with three per room, and one room in West with three roommates, according to Swiney.

West Hall's lounge currently is converted into a dorm room until additional space is available for the growing UNCP student population.

Photo By Marty Anderson
West Hall's lounge currently is converted into a dorm room until additional space is available for the growing UNCP student population.

Despite the suggested crowding, UNCP only accommodated 14 or 15 more people.            

“We had people assigned to every space available last year.  There really wasn’t an opportunity for growth on campus because we exhausted all of our resources,” Swiney said.

“We did identify some space we didn’t use last year over in Jacobs Hall,” Swiney continued.            

Jacobs Hall was closed when Pine Hall opened in the Fall of 2000.  Since then, rooms have been used for storage or staff offices until this year. 

Seven rooms were cleared in order to make two suites: M suite and N suite.  The seven bedrooms each contain two people.        

However, there are approximately 31 returning students waiting for housing assignments, according to Swiney.

 “We can accommodate about six more females because we have additional space in North and Belk,” Swiney said.  Two more males can be accommodated in Jacobs Hall.            

UNCP’s housing  department has a plan.  They have expanded their rental properties list to include apartments and houses in Pembroke where students can live.

“Quite a few” of the properties are within walking distance of campus, while some are “within a skateboard, roller blade or bicycle ride,” according to Swiney.            

“If there’s any returning students looking for housing, we’d be glad to give them the updated rental properties list,” Swiney continued.

There were three opportunities in the spring to maintain housing.  Students could maintain their current housing situation, change dorms or move to the apartments, provided their applications were turned in.               

“I hope it’s a learning experience for the student population to keep the deadlines in mind and use the process to get housing in the future,” said Swiney.            

In fall 2007, 360 more beds will be available in Oak Hall.  That will bring UNCP’s bed inventory to 1,345.

 “They’ve broken ground and so far there are no surprises,” Swiney said.            

This year “we’re in famine, next year will be feast,” Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said at his Aug. 30 Town Hall meeting.

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Updated: Tuesday, September 5, 2006
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