Residences at maximum capacity

University says some students will get temporary beds

MCRC President Alexis Meyerman in front of Victoria Hall, the largest campus residence.
MCRC President Alexis Meyerman in front of Victoria Hall, the largest campus residence.
Watts Hall holds 212 beds and also has two floors for upper-year students. It opened in 2003.
Watts Hall holds 212 beds and also has two floors for upper-year students. It opened in 2003.

Student residences will be at maximum capacity this year after a surge of requests for on-campus rooms.

“It is expected [residences] will be full,” said Mandy Daniel, manager of admissions for residence and hospitality services.

She said at the moment, some students who have applied to live in residence will be informed they are receiving “temporary” beds because there are not enough regular beds to go around. Daniel added she is not yet sure how many students will be notified they are getting temporary beds.

“It’s a big puzzle at this point,” she said.

Daniel said that to accommodate the problem, residence and hospitality services will add a third bed to what in recent years were double rooms, but were originally designed as triple rooms.

These rooms will be the first to receive an extra roommate.

“We’ll take space actually built [to hold another bed] and work our way down,” Daniel said.

If making triple rooms out of large double rooms doesn’t meet the demand, Daniel said space for other beds will have to be created. Residence and hospitality services wants to avoid converting common rooms into bedrooms, she said.

According to Daniel, fees will be adjusted for students who requested a single or double room, but end up in a triple room.

“There will be price changes to reflect changes in situation,” she said.

Daniel said students assigned temporary beds will be allocated regular ones as they become available through “attrition”—or as some students assigned one of the University’s 3,900 regular beds cancel their plans to attend Queen’s through the summer and fall.

Main Campus Residence Council President Alexis Meyerman said she doesn’t think many students will be in temporary beds for long.

“It’s not a very high number [of temporary beds],” she said. “It’s not looking like its going to be a particularly big challenge.” She added that it’s difficult to predict how many students will be seeking rooms before applications for residence come in. The University sends out more admission offers than the actual 3,300 first-year spaces it has, anticipating some students will accept offers from other universities.

“You can’t really anticipate how many students are going to accept their packages and end up coming to Queen’s,” Meyerman said. However, Registrar Jo-Anne Brady reported to the University Senate in April that a stronger-than-usual ratio of applicants declared Queen’s as their first or second choice this year.

Daniel said an influx of students was expected in 2004-05, from students who waited to apply to university to avoid being squeezed out by double cohort graduates the previous year.

That phenomenon seems to be taking place now, she said.

“It’s probably more what we would have expected last year, but it happened this year instead,” Daniel said. The high number of applications for residence is a turnaround from last year. In 2004, there were 300 extra beds on campus.

“We had to close some houses down at Jean Royce [Hall] because of that,” Daniel said. “It’s an exciting year for us actually, after last year ... the community at Jean Royce will be that much better.”

Jean Royce Hall Council President Arpi Kovacs agreed.

“The more students at Jean Royce Hall, the better the experience,” Kovacs said.

“It’s great more students are jumping at the chance to come to Queen’s.”

A full Jean Royce Hall is not the only change in store for campus residences next year.

Economy double rooms—single rooms equipped with bunk beds to lower the cost—have been eliminated and more floors solely for upper-year students have been created.

Daniel said there were previously 50 economy double rooms on campus.

“We found that once the students got here and were in them they wanted out,” Daniel said. “The demand decreased over the years.”

Meyerman said she’s apprehensive about the elimination of the low-cost rooms.

“I’m still concerned about removing the economy double option because of accessibility reasons,” she said.

Meyerman added she does feel positive about the designation of three floors in Leggett Hall exclusively for upper-year students. Two floors in Watts Hall were similarly designated last year and will continue to be available to upper-year students only.

“It’s changing the demographic a little bit and it adds to the value of residence for first-years,” Meyerman said.

“We’re really trying to push for interaction between [first- and upper-year students].” She said she believes Watts and Leggett Halls, the newest residences on campus, are in higher demand among upper-year students.

“I think originally when they built Watts and Leggett that’s what they were thinking—to attract a different demographic,” Meyerman said.

Daniel said this isn’t the first time initial demand for residence rooms has exceeded the number of permanent beds and she hopes this year’s situation will be similarly resolved.

“[In 2002] it was actually scheduled to be 100 students in temporary beds and by September no one was.”

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