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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Schurz and McDavid halls might close temporarily for next school year

This semester, nearly 25 percent fewer freshmen moved into residence halls than anticipated.

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Schurz Hall will likely be taken "offline" for the 2017-18 school year, meaning students will be unable to select it when choosing housing. McDavid Hall, on the other end of campus, will likely also be unavailable.

Maneater File Photo

Dec. 6, 2016

Students will not be able to choose to live in Schurz or McDavid halls when the residence hall selection process opens this spring, Residence Halls Association President Matt Bourke confirmed at an RHA congress meeting Monday night.

Both residence halls are being taken “offline,” which means that when students select rooms, the halls will be unavailable.

This semester, 23.5 percent fewer freshmen than anticipated signed residence hall contracts, according to a presentation given by Residential Life Director Frankie Minor at last night’s RHA congress meeting.

However, MU spokesman Christian Basi said taking the buildings offline does not mean they will definitively be unused next academic year. He said the number of buildings used to house students will depend on how many opt to live on campus next semester, which is largely dependent on the currently unknown freshmen enrollment numbers.

Additionally, the number of students who will live on campus during the 2017-18 school year might be impacted by a new initiative to encourage current residents to re-sign contracts with ResLife.

In previous years, ResLife has capped the number of returning students who are permitted to live in the halls for a second, third or fourth year. But according to Minor’s RHA Congress presentation, this year, ResLife is encouraging students to stay in the halls.

Students will initially have access to a limited number of halls, so that ResLife can operate a smaller number of full halls, rather than more that may be below capacity.

Basi said freshmen enrollment numbers and housing contract renewals will be watched over the next several months to determine how many halls and which halls will be available.

In addition to the the current hall options, a new residence hall, which RHA has proposed to name after journalist Lucile Bluford, will be opening next fall in the Dobbs area near the Laws and Lathrop buildings, which will be demolished at the beginning of next school year.

In previous years, ResLife has made last-minute decisions during the summer about which halls will be in use for the fall semester, Basi said. Last year, four halls were scheduled to be taken offline for the fall 2016 semester, though Respect Hall was ultimately used to house graduate students this year.

The final call about whether Schurz or McDavid will be housing students next year will not be made until the number of students living in the halls becomes more clear.

Edited by Emily Gallion | egallion@themaneater.com

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