By Lori Bredemeyer, Managing Editor
Some female students have advanced through housing faster than the normal ACU student because of overcrowding in freshman halls. Currently, 16 freshmen live in Sikes Hall, a sophomore residence hall, and 18 sophomores live in University Park Apartments, usually reserved for juniors and seniors.
Dr. Mimi Barnard, director of Residence Life Education and Housing, said the freshmen probably will stay in Sikes unless rooms open for them after Christmas and they are willing to move. The sophomores will continue to reside in UP throughout the year.
She said the women have adapted well to the situation.
“Ideally, everyone that comes to the campus gets settled immediately,” Barnard said. “We’re doing the best that we can given the options that we have.”
The past few years men have had to triple in Mabee and Edwards halls, but this year that problem was alleviated when McDonald Hall was converted to a men’s hall.
Barnard said it takes much planning to decide how to accommodate a surplus of students.
“Really it’s like putting together a big puzzle, kind of a Rubik’s Cube,” she said. “Every move you make has a consequence.”
Although the freshman women will not be in a hall surrounded by their peers, Barnard said they all are grouped together in one section of Sikes, and their resident assistant, Megan May, has helped them adjust to college life.
“Their experience will not be identical to what happens in Gardner and Nelson, though we’re trying our best to emulate what happens in those halls,” she said.
Rebecca Cates, residence director of Sikes Hall, said she e-mailed her staff during the summer about the possibility of housing freshmen in the hall, and May, senior English major from Anaheim Hills, Calif., eagerly volunteered.
“She said she really wanted to be considered for this position,” Cates said, “and I had already been thinking about her.”
Cates said she tries to talk to the freshmen every day, and some of them enjoy being in a sophomore hall.
“A lot of them really like it because they get bigger rooms and have private baths,” she said. “Every time I talk to them they seem to be doing really well.”
Barnard said she is nervous that the new residence hall, which is planned for the parking lot across from Brown Library and could be completed next fall, will not be ready in time, and she wants to be able help keep students and parents happy by having enough room for incoming freshmen.
“We don’t have to build a new building. We can keep doing what we’re doing,” she said. “But we risk damaging our relationship with students.”