Upperclassmen housing still provides adequate space despite the squeeze of growth
There are a few times a year when Belmont begins to resemble a battlefield rather than a school: the two weeks of registration and the semi-lottery that is the housing draw every spring.
Students may wake up early to get the desired and needed courses, but there is nothing that will keep them away from their computer at their designated draw time for the housing selection.
Classes may be important, but it’s housing that sets the tone for the whole year.
Rising sophomores aim for places like Hillside and Commons but realize they will most likely end up in the many second-year-only residence halls around campus. The upcoming freshmen will have all of the North Lawn in the heart of campus.
But what about everyone else?
There are no designated spaces for any upperclassmen, which turns out to be more of a blessing than a curse.
Spaces are available in all apartment complexes – Hillside, The Commons and what’s left of Bruin Hills – as well as Thrailkill and apparently the unnamed building being built on 15th Avenue South across from Kennedy Hall.
“There will definitely be upperclassmen. Sophomores, depending on the freshmen class size, but mostly upperclassmen,” said Rebekah Stewart, assistant director (upperclassman complexes) of Residence Life.
The building will be a hybrid of sorts, with both suite and apartment style living quarters inside.
With a hall like this becoming available, it may be difficult to see why Thrailkill is still reserved for upperclassmen, but it is more than a catch-all for those with unfortunate draw times.
“One of the reasons we didn’t make Thrailkill a sophomore place was so juniors and seniors who wanted a cheaper option to live in could,” said Stewart.
Luckily, Residence Life doesn’t have any worries about having spots available for the 78 percent of the upperclassman population that takes part of the housing draw each year.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been concerned about having a place for the upperclassmen. When we get through the junior and seniors, there is ample space for them, I would say,” said Jamie Shaffer, assistant director (freshman complexes) of Residence Life.
Stewart says there are usually no more than 25 students without a space at the end of the draw each year, but with the ever present possibility of upperclassmen canceling their housing and freeing up spaces, the problem often clears itself up.
Heather Neisen, one of the residence directors in Hillside, agrees that the upperclassmen are never really a concern, saying they “have enough hours to either stay put or move off.”
The growing freshmen classes and then the following sophomore class is where more attention is focused, especially ensuring there is enough space. Due to this, some buildings, such as Wright and Maddox, may become more exclusive than they had been previously.
“There’s certain buildings that are always going to be freshmen. Wright/Maddox goes back and forth. It’s been freshmen more often than not. Even when it wasn’t freshmen exclusive, there were still freshmen living there,” said Shaffer.
As for the apartment complexes, students can expect to see green space instead of Bruin Hills. However, when is still to be determined.
While the demise of Bruin Hills may be imminent, there is no chance of Hillside disappearing any time soon.
“We don’t have any plans to get rid of that. If we did, we would be trying to find 400-something places for students to live,” said Stewart.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from demolition is what Belmont seems to be taking part of often: building.
“There’s always plans for other halls. I think the ultimate plan eventually would be five or six halls across the street,” said Shaffer.
For the moment, one residence hall is all that is in the works on campus.