By Kristen Pinto
Framingham State administrators have been pushing the housing capacity limit in an effort to get more resident students on campus, creating non-traditional living quarters for some students.
The residence halls on campus are designed to hold 1,931 students. At the opening of the semester this fall, there were 1,940 resident students living on campus, according to Associate Dean of students and Director of Residence Life Glenn Cochran.
FSU began converting the study lounges in Corrinne Hall Towers into makeshift double rooms for students by blacking out the windows in order to exceed this capacity limit and allow more students to live on campus.
Cochran said there are currently eight lounges in Towers set up as doubles. There were supposed be nine, but due to a leak, the last one is now inaccessible for the year. Temporary space is also being offered in other dorm buildings. The goal of creating these rooms is to get students off of the wait list and into actual living quarters on campus, even if they are only temporary.
These lounges have the same furniture and amenities as other dorm rooms, including a cable drop and wifi.
Colin MacEacheron, a sophomore English major who is temporarily housed in one of these rooms, said it is “just slightly inconvenient at times.
“The lights are motion-sensored, so I had to cover it [the motion sensor] with a piece of paper and tape lying around my room,” he said. “Otherwise, I would turn the lights o7 and crawl into bed, and any slight movement would cause the lights to turn back on.”
He also said the outlets do not work at times, and the wifi reception is really bad, but otherwise, it is “roomy and comfortable.
“I was on the housing wait list, so they assigned me to this room one day before move-in and told me that it is only temporary,” MacEacheron said.
Cochran said students living in temporary housing are given first choice when a standard room becomes available according to the date they were assigned to the makeshift room, but often students opt to stay because they become comfortable there.
“We do want to restore the lounges back to Towers eventually,” he said.
Jamie Chaves, a senior visual communication arts major, lived in one of these rooms for the first four months of his freshman year.
“I actually thought it was better than the other rooms,” he said. “It was really big. They moved me to Larned in early November and I actually preferred the lounge.”
Senior business major Stephen Harrington said, “I had a friend in one of those rooms, and it was huge. I wouldn’t have minded being placed in one myself.”
The demand for housing has increased over the years. Back in 2011, when North Hall first opened, 410 more beds were added to campus and the housing wait list was still up to about 80 students the summer beforehand.
As of Sept. 23 Cochran said the wait list was down to 17 people and he hoped to get as many of those students on campus as soon as possible.
The new residence hall, which has yet to be named, is still being planned but is set to be complete by fall 2016. It will be located where the Maynard parking lot currently exists. The lot will lose spaces, which will be replaced in the new lot currently being constructed on Salem End Road.
Brittany Wallace, junior sociology major said, “I only live 30 minutes away, but I have to leave my house at 6:30 in the morning just so that I can get a parking spot and make it to my 8:30 on time.”
According to Cochran, the new residence hall will create beds to replace those lost in O’Connor Hall when it’s transformed into an academic building.
“The new hall looks like it will be about 300 beds,” Cochran said. “O’Connor has about 250 beds, and so we are going to gain somewhere around 50 beds. More than the beds, we will also gain more singles around campus and more connected, shared bathrooms instead of public floor bathrooms.”
With the current design, each dorm room will have a small entryway, two double or single rooms and one shared bathroom. There will be five residential floors.
Craig Boland, a senior psychology major and student admissions representative, said, “There will be more and more students being accepted, but there are also plans for a new residence hall to accommodate that.”