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ResLife releases plan to fill Duncan

Rohan Anand | Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Office of Residence Life and Housing has announced it will fill the new male dorm, Duncan Hall, through a lottery system. The dorm is scheduled to open in August 2008.

In addition to the standard group of approximately 80 freshmen who will enter Duncan next year, current students will be asked to bid for the remaining beds via a lottery system that will run early next semester, said Jeff Shoup, director of Residence Life.

If fewer students apply for the lottery than are needed to fill the dorm, the remaining spaces will be filled with freshmen and transfers, Shoup said.

“Clearly, we’re not assuming that this will happen,” he said. “But we have to make plans for either way – which is that either a bunch of people will apply or that nobody applies.”

Shoup also said Residence Life has been tallying the number of students visiting its Web site on Duncan and is “pleased” with the interest that has been indicated by the visitor count.

“We’re continually updating the site,” he said. “One of the newest additions is a webcam that has been set up on one side of McGlinn that refreshes every 10 seconds with the construction developments.”

Residence Life plans to relieve overcrowding in male dorms with the construction of Duncan, which will house approximately 234 men on three levels, Shoup said Friday.

“We’re glad to see that the overcrowding issue will be solved by moving some beds out of [male dorms] and moving them into Duncan,” he said.

Students are currently living in forced quads designed to accommodate only three students and forced five-person rooms deigned to accommodate four students, he said.

“Fortunately, that will change soon,” he said.

During the past few years, an influx in male students choosing to remain on campus has forced ResLife to convert some of the study lounges in Siegfried, Knott, Keough and O’Neill halls into quads and triples. Duncan will restore three of these study lounges in each dorm. Other dorms operating at full capacity, such as Dillon, Morrissey, Alumni and Zahm, will also see more free space thanks to Duncan.

The Observer reported Aug. 31 that the University’s 27 residence halls are at 104 percent capacity, This means beds have been squeezed into forced triples, forced doubles and converted study spaces in all 13 women’s dorms and most of the men’s residence halls.

The dorms have been above 100 percent capacity for the past five or six years, said Scott Kachmarik, associate director of Residence Life.

The Aug. 31 report also noted that the University has plans to build another new male residence hall and two new female residence halls, each of which will supply about 250 new beds.

When completed, Duncan will offer residents a variety of rooms – including singles, doubles, triples, and quad. Some dorm rooms, called “super-doubles” and “super-quads,” will have bay windows and personal bathroom facilities.

Shoup said the plan to move students into Duncan is two-phased. Students will have from Jan. 28 to Feb. 7 to fill out applications to enter the first phase of the Duncan Hall lottery. They must indicate which type of room they want to live in and the names of the people with whom they want to live.

Then, on Feb. 8, Residence Life officers will draw 150 to 160 winning lottery tickets from those students selected for the initial round. Students will be selected in groups as all-or-none in order to ensure that groups of friends are not split up.

“To win this lottery, we take you in as a group, just like in the football tickets lottery,” Shoup said.

Selection in the initial lottery, however, will not be binding. If students decide to decline their winning numbers for whatever reason, they will be permitted to do so.

For those winning students who decide to remain in the lottery, the second phase of the lottery process will take place Feb. 25, which will model the lottery system that most on-campus dorms use for room selections. Students will be able to choose their rooms based on numerical rankings within the winning numbers. They will be divided into separate groups depending on the type of room their groups selected on their initial application.

“We’re still trying to develop the technology that ranks the groups of people selected to bid for singles, doubles, super-quads, etc. in Duncan for the second round,” said Shoup.

Registration for room selections for all other dorms on campus will take place shortly after the first phase of Duncan’s lottery, lasting from Feb. 11 to Feb. 25. This is several weeks earlier than in previous years and was a move designed as a contingency plan in case the first phase of the Duncan lottery was unsuccessful, Shoup said.

“If fewer than 150 people apply for the first round, then we will probably end up filling the majority of spaces with freshmen or transfers,” he said. “However, we will also use the second phase of the lottery as a back-up plan for residents in other dorms who might not have gotten the room picks they wanted during the regular dorm room selection.”

Shoup added that if this were to happen, students will be able to negotiate with their rectors to allow some flexibility in achieving the most desirable plan for them.

Shoup did not say whether any students would be forced to move from their previous residence hall to Duncan Hall.

Dorm features such as mascot, hall tax figures, dorm color, and sister dorms have not been determined, he said.

A Residence Life committee is looking into how to select Resident Assistants for Duncan Hall, Shoup said.