Image courtesy of The Catholic University of America
By Renee Rasmussen and Theresa Whitfield
Many students are confused as to what their future living situation at Catholic University will look like due to an ambiguity in the recent housing policy changes that will require third year students to reside on campus. Included in the change in policy is the plan for the development of a new dorm building.
The policy change originally was set to be implemented with the class of 2023, but the current freshman knew the likelihood was slim. Math major Riley Smith pointed out the problem obvious to her and her classmates: “there’s not enough housing to live on campus until junior year.”
Last year, the Catholic University administration decided that incoming students would be required to live on campus for three years, and Cardinal Ambassadors, Catholic U’s tour guides, began announcing this in their tours to prospective students, as reported last January by The Tower. This meant that the administration planned to have this housing policy take effect beginning with the current 818 freshmen members of the Class of 2023.
Along with the announcement of this new policy, the university also announced on January 30 its plans to build a new residence hall. According to Catholic University’s website, this new dorm will add 350 beds at a planned location of the space east of Opus Hall on John McCormack Road. The financing for the dorm will come from bonds. Based on enrollment projections, the department of housing is confident that this will be sufficient to provide housing for all who will be required to live on campus, as well as for anyone else who desires to remain on campus, including seniors and graduate students.
However, students have continued to remain skeptical as to how the university will be able to accommodate the increased number of students in residence halls. In this article, the projected timeline for the building to be opened is 2022. However, this presents a problem for the current freshmen who have been led to believe they will be required to live on campus as they will need beds for their junior year in the fall of 2021.
Tim Carney, executive director of Housing Services, confirmed what most students assumed.
“The policy goes into effect for the incoming freshman class (fall 2024): without the new building there would not be enough beds on campus,” he said in an email to The Tower.
Even with the recent events surrounding COVID-19, Carney claimed that no delays in the construction of the new dorm should take place. Housing Services expects the new dorm to open at the original projected date in Spring 2022 for the incoming class of 2024.
Beyond the concerns about housing for undergraduate students, questions arise about the availability of housing for upperclassmen and graduate students. However, Carney made reassurances that Housing is ready to meet the demand this new policy might bring.
“We make adjustments on an annual basis to fit the class size,” Carney said. “Enrollment will not be affected. We do not anticipate a shortage in housing. Both the percentage of senior and graduate students that have historically requested housing have been considered in our estimates.”