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East campus residence halls to close in fall

Daily Egyptian SIUC

Wednesday, March 14, 2018  |  Article  |  By Staff Report

Education--Higher (37)
As of fall 2018 SIU will no longer house students in the towers, Chancellor Carlo Montemagno announced today in a university press release.

Student housing will be merged together on West campus to increase student engagement in the upcoming fall semester.

“By bringing students together in Thompson Point, we can continue to build a tightly knit, engaged community,” Montemagno said in the release. “It will also increase traffic to our Student Center, which should be a centerpiece of campus life.”

Moving all students living in the university’s residence halls would leave Schneider Hall, Mae Smith Hall and Neely Hall vacant.

Montemagno said the decline in enrollment made the move possible, but the change was pushed to build engagement and enhance the university’s retention rate, according to the release.

“As we rebuild enrollment in the years ahead, we will always have the option of having students on both sides of campus again,” Montemagno said. “For now, we can best serve students by making sure that they are part of a vibrant and active community.”

Director of University Housing Jon Schaffer said in the release closing the towers will help the university minimize future board and room costs for students.

He said new students who have signed housing contracts for the upcoming fall semester will not be affected because they have not been assigned rooms.

For the 500-600 returning students that have already selected rooms for the next fall semester, Shaffer said the housing office will reach to them and work through the changes.

The closures will also affect students living in living-learning communities where students with similar interests and hobbies live together.

“We are continuing to grow the number of living-learning communities on campus,” Shaffer said in a university press release. “While the location may change, our commitment remains the same.”

There are living-learning communities on both sides of campus.

Rumors about East Campus closing have circulated around the university since February.

Admissions and Group Visit Coordinator Rita Medina, told Saluki Ambassadors in an email that as of February 19, East Campus would no longer be shown to potential students visiting the campus.

According to the email obtained by the Daily Egyptian, ambassadors were told to tell families who asked about East Campus closing to say something along the lines of: “There’s no official word yet, but it is something that has been discussed for years since it sometimes creates a divide between students. Having one on-campus housing area for all new students could be a great way to create a stronger sense of community and Saluki pride.”

Although the towers will be closed in the upcoming fall semester, the university will continue to offer housing at University Hall, Wall and Grand Apartments, and Evergreen Terrace.

According to the release the Gathering Place Snack Shop, which is currently in Grinnell Hall, will be moved to University Hall.