Residential Life to move 300 students from Johnston Hall

MU loses approximately 8 to 9 percent of on-campus students after fall semester.

Johnston Hall, home to approximately 310 students, will close for renovations at the conclusion of the Fall 2012 semester. Its current residents will be distributed among MU's other residence halls.

Roughly 300 students will be moved from Johnston Hall to other residence halls for the Spring 2013 semester as a part of phase four of Residential Life’s renovation plan, Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said.

Residential Life estimates it will be able to provide alternate university housing for all students in Johnston and still house new students enrolling for the spring semester.

This is largely because MU loses approximately 8 to 9 percent of its students living on campus after the fall semester, Minor said.

“There are students who know they’re not coming back for the next semester and they’ll go through the process of checking out,” he said. “Otherwise students discover that and they’ll contact us over break.”

Minor said the rate of students who don’t come back after break is fairly consistent so Residential Life is able to plan accordingly.

“We’ve shut down Hatch and Schurz for renovation, which housed over 500 students, so while 300 seems like a lot, it’s probably not going to be,” Minor said.

Residential Life is attempting to make the transition for these students as smooth as possible, Johnston Hall Coordinator Chase Rother said. Students are provided with boxes and packing materials for all of their belongings they aren’t taking home with them over break. Residential Life will then move their belongings to their new housing assignment so it is ready for them when they get back from break.

Residents were also given the opportunity to preference where and with whom they would like to live with next semester, Minor said. Residential Life is taking all preferences into consideration and doing its best to give residents their first choice whenever possible.

Minor, who has directed Residential Life for 18 years, said the department has learned things along the way that have helped with the transition, including opening lines of communication between the department and residents.

“In early November, Johnston hosted two community forums for residents to ask questions about the move and residents also received a packet of information explaining the process in detail,” Rother said.

Student staff members working in Johnston will also be given a new assignment for the spring semester. Many current staff members of other residential halls will graduate this semester or study abroad next semester, allowing Johnston staff to take over these positions. Minor anticipates enough current staff members around campus to leave next semester that Residential Life may actually have to hire a few new student staff members.

Rother will be on a special assignment for Residential Life during the Johnston's renovation.

Sabai, the a la carte residential dining hall operated in Johnston, will remain operational for the entirety of the spring semester and through December 2013, when it will also close for renovation until Johnston reopens.

For now, Residential Life is focused on finding residents new living accommodations for next semester and helping them prepare for the move.

“From my conversations with residents, most of them are focusing on preparations for finals and packing up,” Rother said.

Johnston is set to reopen in August 2014, according to the Residential Life master plan.

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