South Court's renovations, which are expected to continue until spring semester, have left students with fewer housing options and no choice but to scramble to find fixes for their living situations.
South Court, which typically housed mostly sophomore students in more than 70 rooms, has been closed in order to help complete University of Richmond’s housing redevelopment plan.
Patrick Benner, director of residence life and undergraduate-student housing, said he recognized the difficulties that the redevelopment plan and its consequences pose to students.
“The more we’ve made improvements in our residence halls, the more students want to stay on campus,” he said. “We have an increase of returning students and we have a building that goes offline, that is where we kind of run into issues with having the right amount of space.”
Ally Charleston, WC ‘20, and Ana Salitan-Alvarez, WC ‘20, both received low housing lottery slots and had to pick double-size rooms in the basement of Robins Hall. The smallest double without a bathroom in Robins' basement measures 12 feet by 13.6 feet, while the largest single in the same hall measures 11 feet by 13.6 feet, according to the UR housing website. It is suggested that beds should be bunked.
After visiting her room last spring, Charleston and her roommate made the decision to live off campus.
“It’s ridiculous the amount of money you have to pay to live in a jail cell,” Charleston said.
Housing prices change depending on the amount of people living in a room and whether a bathroom is attached, according to the UR controller website. But, Salitan-Alvarez believes that an easier solution would be to give compensation to the students who end up with smaller rooms.
“I just think it’s a really easy solution,” she said. “You literally can just look at the floor plans as the housing department and just charge them less, it’s that simple.”
Benner said UR housing has been willing to work with students who have to live in, what they call,
"non-ideal housing." He said that UR has rented apartments at Tuckahoe Creek, and has tried to accommodate students who are unhappy with their housing.
Salitan-Alvarez said that she asked housing to give students who lived in smaller rooms better housing lottery spots for the next year, but Benner did not approve of this.
Still, some students are dealing with their housing problems by living as best they can in their dorm. Danielle Holliday, WC‘20, a resident of Robins Hall third floor, said that although her room is small and was recently cleaned out for dust and mold, she is trying to make the best of it.
The housing redevelopment plan includes changing upperclassmen halls into suite-style dorms, Benner said.
“It’s not an ideal situation, and we’ll get South Court back online, and are working on some things this year," Benner said. "Our hope is to not be in this same position in future years."
Contact news writer Alexis Angelus at firstname.lastname@example.org.