The second year housing selection process will begin shortly after students return from the winter break in January. The Residence Life office will offer several new dorm options to incoming freshmen and sophomores in the 2023-2024 school year.
According to Emily Carlyle, director of residence life operations, the percentage of women in the current freshman class is higher than it has ever been. Edwards and Halls A and B in Barret will be split, gendered to accommodate the large incoming sophomore class.
“I think one of the benefits of split-gender housing is that it allows multiple types of facilities at varying price points to be available for all of our students,” Carlyle said. “I think the other thing we’re excited about is that the creation of freshman village is moving towards nearly all split-gendered halls and so this allows that freshman experience to continue into the second year.”
ResLife will install swipe-access doors in the center staircase of Edwards hall to separate the female and male wings and a new laundry room on the first floor of the female side. Barret hall will not require any renovations for the change.
“I think that one of the things we really desire is to create equity between our first year and second year experience,” Carlyle said. “Currently, a lot of investment is going into the first-year experience and we want to ensure that our second-year students are also receiving a high level of investment. Creating more split-gender opportunities creates equity between those two years.”
Next school year, Wessel Hall will house 348 male and female freshmen, including all incoming Honors students. According to Zach Snyder, director of residence life staff development, Sikes Hall will undergo renovations to construct large lobby spaces similar to Bullock and Wessel, install an elevator and make changes to the air conditioning system.
“Sikes will be closed for the coming year as we do a renovation project there to make it an experience that is more comparable to our new buildings in the freshman village,” Snyder said.
The Sikes renovations will prepare the building for split-gendered use as well and conclude the construction of the freshman village. ResLife leaders have no further plans for additional renovations.
“We want to offer as many options as possible that have that particular feature that we know that students want,” Snyder said. “And it will be a better fit for our campus and our housing needs for next year.”
Maxwell Harrison, Senior Resident Advisor for Edwards next year, believes the shift to split-gendered halls is a good move for the university and all students.
“How I feel about it personally, I mean I’m not too mad at it,” Maxwell Harrison, junior management marketing major from San Antonio, said. “It’s cool, but I feel like it’s an ACU thing where they are moving towards a secular university. Which, it’s still like you either choose one or you stay traditional. I want them to decide one.”
ResLife leaders like Carlyle supports the use of large lobby spaces to develop community among students in freshman and sophomore dorms.
“I think additionally we want to create more opportunity for students to engage in community building within their residence hall,” Carlyle said. “And getting to do that with both their male and female peers is a really great way for them to be together both in and out of the classroom.”