Campus Life

Housing crunch

With the end of one school year quickly approaching, Grace College is already making ready for another, and as the campus continues to grow, the housing options for sophomores and upperclassmen continue to shrink.

Student Affairs and adminstrators are working on securing additional housing for students.

According to Aaron Crabtree,  the associate dean of students, campus housed 785 students in fall of 2011 and plans to house approximately 850 in fall of 2012.

Such massive growth obviously requires some extra housing.  ““As those who attended the housing lottery know, we are still in need of additional space for residents.” said Crabtree.

In order to make room, Beta and the male sections of Westminster and Indiana Hall will be home only to freshmen, leadership, and leaderships’ roommates next year, Crabtree said.

Other housing options for male residents include the perimeter houses, Orchard Manor and Delta (Yellow House), which opened last fall, as well as new perimeter options.

Stone Cottage, located on King’s Highway near Miller Field, and Lake House in Winona Lake Park will become men’s housing, while the women will use perimeter housing on King’s Highway in a brick house, currently called the Thompson House. Crabtree said he and Randy Kleinhans, the director of Physical Plant, “walked through countless houses” while Tom Dunn, the chief operations officer, took charge of the business aspect of housing.

Fortunately, Grace will not have to renovate any of the new houses, Crabtree said. The current owner of Stone House is taking care of renovations, and the city will work on Lake House, replacing siding and flooring, possibly while students are living there. Crabtree said that the students moving in have been informed of the plans.

While changes to campus housing are certainly in the works, the off-campus policy will remain the same.

“We’re trying not to move the off-campus policy,” said Crabtree. According to Crabtree, Student Affairs is “maintaining our residential philosophy: to continue to stress our belief that the Grace educational experience includes living in the dorms and what is learned there.”

Despite the tidal wave of new students, current students will be housed, said Crabtree. Even with the new perimeter housing, where some students are going to live next year is still uncertain.

“We’re continuing to look at other locations,” Crabtree said. He also assured students: “For those who didn’t get a room, we’re still working diligently and tirelessly.” Realizing the stress of rooming uncertainty, he said that issues will be resolved as quickly as possible.

While housing has certainly created some challenges, a surge of students is no sad event. Crabtree said that perhaps the rush stems from the Reimagine Program, improved marketing, and student satisfaction. “I’d like to think Grace has gained an even better reputation,” he said. He also credited the admissions staff: “Our admissions counselors are awesome. I hear from a lot of students that their admissions counselor was so caring.”

Whatever the cause may be, Grace will welcome many new and returning students in the fall. And Student Affairs is committed to finding places to house them.

Look for our final issue on May 10 for more information about changes in student housing.

Story by Rachel Scoles | Staff Writer | scolesra@grace.edu

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