Residence hall slated to open next semester

By Stephanie Bradley

The NIU office of student housing has decided the third floor of Gilbert Hall will be used for student residences this year, reversing last semester’s decision to convert the space for other uses.

Donald Buckner, NIU director of student housing, said the floor will be open because the number of returning students applying for housing in NIU residence halls is up by about 300. The problem was compounded by the addition of 211 single rooms as an option for students living in the residence halls. About 38 single rooms had previously been offered, but only for medical reasons, he said.

Buckner said students who had requested to live on the third floor this year and were told to find alternative housing were contacted this summer when the floor opened up again. Only two students expressed an interest in living on the floor. The others chose to move to Neptune Hall, he said. The floor now will have mostly freshmen and transfer students.

John Felver, associate director of housing services, said NIU “will not renege” on those students who have signed up for the single rooms, which are actually doubles used as singles. If a student cancels, the room will be reassigned as a double, he said.

Felver also said the number of new student (freshman) residence hall applicants are down by 500, “although that number could change next week because we are still receiving applications” for the residence halls.

Buckner said that last year there were 7,886 requests for student housing as opposed to this year’s 7,662 requests.

A decision was made last March to close the third floor of Gilbert Hall for economic reasons. The floor was chosen because it is the most expensive hall to run. A number of alternative uses for the space had been considered, although no formal search had been started because of the possibility of a need for more student housing space.

Buckner said there is a total of about 3,800 rooms with a 7,600 student capacity. As is done every year, 190 students will be assigned to temporary housing in the Holmes Student Center or in the lounges of Lincoln or Douglas residence halls, he said. Buckner said that this is to compensate for the number of drop-outs and no-shows that are inevitable at the beginning of every year, and will guarantee the university 100 percent occupation.

Most of the 100 students who are assigned to the HSC and the 90 students in Lincoln and Douglas should be reassigned to regular rooms by September 15. A memo from the office of Student Housing Services stated that “it is possible a few students may not receive permanent assignments until the end of the first semester.”