Hotels rooms reserved to handle record fall enrollment

A few of the 100 students who resided at the 1975 “Cougar Hilton” (aka: Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum)

Record enrollment has WSU Housing bursting at the seams and creating alternatives.

As of July 17, the Pullman campus had received a total of 12,428 applications for admission from freshman and transfer students for fall quarter, up 1,590 over the same time last year. To date, 5,039 new students have submitted their enrollment deposit, an increase of 624 freshman and transfer students over last year’s number at this time.

Meanwhile, 4,571 new and returning students have requested university housing, having signed contracts and paid deposits.

This puts a temporary pinch on housing, as the university is currently equipped to handle about 4,544 students through its on-campus housing facilities.

To compensate for the initial overload, the university has tentatively reserved 30 hotel rooms in Compton Union Building hotel, and 25 rooms at Nendels Inn, to ensure temporary housing until students can be placed in permanent university housing. Nendels, located next to the main campus entrance, is offering the space through Sept. 5.

It is estimated that the CUB can house about 46 students and Nendels about 40 students.

Perham Hall, which has been partially used for conferences, is now at full capacity on all six floors. In addition, the university is temporarily converting many residence hall study or common rooms into living spaces by moving out tables and chairs and moving in beds and dressers. (These rooms will be returned to their original use after permanent housing for students is found in September.)

Also easing the situation are the recently remodeled Honors Hall and McCroskey Hall, which were opened to students last fall.

“We currently have confirmations for about 4,571 students — freshman through seniors — who have requested university housing. That puts us about 50 students over our housing capacity,” said Gerald Marczynski, director of housing and dining services. “And, we’re continuing to receive about five to six new applications a day for on-campus student housing.

“We have employed a number of alternatives and don’t anticipate any problems,” said Marczynski. “Things appear to be going along smoothly.”

The first wave of fall semester freshman will arrive on campus Aug. 18 to begin the fall orientation Alive! program. Freshman who have already participated in Alive! will arrive Aug. 21 and 22. Classes begin Aug. 26.

Marczynski noted that late-registration students will be assigned first to residence hall lobby rooms, second to the CUB, and finally to Nendels.

“Our priority is to place students in a residence hall, if at all possible, so they can begin connecting with other students and feel a part of campus life,” Marczynski said.

Based on past trends, several things happen during the first couple weeks of the semester which cause freshman enrollment to drop and ensure that everyone gets into permanent on-campus housing:

1. A number of confirmed enrollments simply don’t show up.

2. Some students move into sorority or fraternity housing.

3. Some students drop out.

In addition, Pullman has an abundance of off-campus apartment housing, which upper classmen could be encouraged to consider, in order to make additional room for freshman.

Reservations at Nendels provide a certain level of “swing space,” said Marczynski, but the university has the option to cancel those reservations if they are not needed.

The last time WSU had a bumper crop of freshman was in 1975, when enrollment shot up by 600 and off-campus housing was in short supply. About 100 male students slept on cots in the newly completed Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum — fondly referred to as the “Cougar Hilton.”

“Our goal this fall is to enroll 2,825 freshman, and we currently are on track to meet that target,” said Wendy Peterson, director of admissions.

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