Doubling up in Moreland

Although less students will be living on campus this upcoming fall, 25 singles in Moreland Hall will be converted into doubles to alleviate the influx of students who have been living in lounges and study rooms on West Campus. Moreland currently has 50 doubles, but 25 will be added to the residence hall in an attempt to ease the number of triples in other dormitories.

"For the past 10 years or so, 20 rooms in Oneida [Hall] that were designed as lounges have been used as bedrooms," said associate director for the Department of Residence Life and Housing, Marie Driscoll.

Beside Oneida, 18 of Seneca Hall’s lounges as three-student dorm rooms with three students living in each. Cayuga Hall’s 40 lounges had been converted into resident living areas, housing as many as four students. Driscoll said she would rather have those lounges free for the residents to use for studying and recreation than used for housing.

"Our philosophy is that we would prefer to not put students in triples if we don’t have to," Kolenda said. "It puts a lot more people in the building."

Cayuga is designed to house approximately 400 students, but 500 students currently call the residence hall home. Overpopulation usually advances the deterioration of a building, requiring much more upkeep than normal.

"We’re using the doubles in Moreland because we’re trying to free up those lounges," Driscoll said. "It will decrease the number of students living on the west side of campus by 300."

Rich Kolenda, assistant vice president for Residence Life and Housing, attributed the decrease in students living on campus this fall to the decline in the number of high school graduates throughout New York State. Driscoll said there may be less students living on campus because some choose to live off campus if they cannot live in The Village.

"There were 250 more seniors on campus this year than last year," Kolenda said. "But there will be 100 less students on campus this fall. We’re going to make only Moreland doubles, and Lonis singles. Some of the demand for singles has shifted to the Village."

As of Fall 2010 there were 4,281 students living on campus, up from 2006 when there were 3,722 on campus students. The housing of students in Sheldon Hall is not necessarily permanent, according to Kolenda.

"When we did this three years ago, The Village had not opened yet," he said. "Sheldon was already renovated from being used as a hotel."

There are between 65 and 70 students, all juniors and seniors, living currently living in Sheldon. If the occupancy falls below a certain level, Sheldon may close as a residential building.

"The decision is based on what the college is looking for," Kolenda said. "It’s great to see students living in that historic building. It’s a positive living environment."

According to Driscoll, the reason for the expansion of residence space on campus goes back to around 1995, when Oswego State closed Johnson, Lonis and Moreland Halls.

"Many students decided to live off campus," Driscoll said. "They wanted more privacy and meal flexibility."

When Oswego State re-opened the Mackin Complex, all of the dorm rooms were converted to singles and every floor had a kitchenette.

"A few years ago, we needed more space so we put people in Sheldon," Driscoll said. "We thought that when The Village opened we wouldn’t need it, but the students liked it."

Last year, Oswego State still had what Driscoll called a "space crunch."

"We had 200 more people in the fall of 2010 than the year before," she said. "But Moreland was less full than Lonis."

Part of the difficulty filling the 138 rooms in the Mackin Complex derives from students being able to live in a single in The Village for the same price as living in a double in the complex.

Juniors and seniors who do not already have a room assignment will see Moreland as a housing option beginning on April 26. There are currently 70 doubles still available in Moreland Hall.

"We have a very progressive and educational [living] environment," Kolenda said. "There’s a lot of support and the dormitories are close to everything. Opportunities are enhanced by living on campus."