The Maneater

Laws and Lathrop halls to close for 2016–17 following enrollment decrease

ResLife Director Frankie Minor: “We will continue to look at other ways to reduce our operating costs and will share those as we identify them.”

Laws and Lathrop halls stand on Tiger Avenue on March 15. The halls will not house any residents next year in the wake of decreasing enrollment. They were the cheapest options for housing through the Department of Residential Life.

Laws and Lathrop halls will not be in use during the 2016–17 school year, the Department of Residential Life announced Tuesday.

After interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced last week that MU’s enrollment is projected to drop by about 1,500 students, the department decided it will not need the residence halls to house incoming freshmen. The closing of the two halls, which house a total of 680 residents, is expected to save more than $200,000 in utilities and potentially more costs, Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said in an email.

Laws Hall will now be closed permanently ahead of its planned demolition in 2017. Lathrop Hall could be reopened before its scheduled demolition in a few years if enrollment increases. A recently constructed residence hall, George C. Brooks Hall, is still scheduled to open in the fall 2016.

Laws and Lathrop are currently the cheapest residence halls to live in, according to the Residential Life website. Prices for a double room for 2016–17 were estimated to be $5,180 per year. The next cheapest halls are $6,440 per year.

Many departments are experiencing budget cuts after the announcement that lowered enrollment rates would cause a $32 million shortfall for MU’s planned budget. However, Residential Life is an auxiliary operation, meaning its only revenues come from residents and not from MU or the state of Missouri.

“The size of the freshman class will have an effect on our operating budget, but until the actual size of the freshman class is known, it is difficult to predict what that might be,” Minor said. “For now, we are adhering to similar steps affecting the rest of campus.”

One of these steps includes refraining from filling vacant positions unless necessary. Staff members in Laws and Lathrop who are currently employed by the department or were recently hired will maintain “similar or equivalent” positions.

“We will continue to look at other ways to reduce our operating costs and will share those as we identify them,” Minor said in an email to ResLife student staff members. “We’re all in this together as a team and a community.”

Residential Life will also have to find areas where operations costs can be reduced without harming essential programs. Minor said that programs relating to student safety and security are the top priority for funding, but cuts will have to come from elsewhere.

“The department remains committed to providing the best possible living and learning experience for our students,” Minor said. “We will respond to these challenges and seek new opportunities to fulfill our mission.”

Edited by Taylor Blatchford | tblatchford@themaneater.com

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