Student housing to be addressed at next Board of Trustees meeting

Oakland University’s Board of Trustees is expected to consider a proposal to expand the number of on-campus housing for the university’s students at its next meeting.

Two weeks after the start of the 2012 fall semester, OU still has six students living at an off-campus hotel due to overcrowding, according to OU Student Congress President Samantha Wolf. The university is paying for the costs of off-campus housing for students, University Housing Director Jim Zentmeyer said.

The housing department had placed 31 students at the off-campus hotel following campus dormitory overcrowding.

OU has a capacity of 2,100 beds for students wishing to live on campus.

Zentmeyer said overbooking the dormitories is normal because a certain amount of students decide they no longer wish to live on campus.

Mary Beth Snyder, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said OU anticipates having a housing expansion report at the next BOT meeting, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 4.

“We are currently talking to the short list of development groups about the availability of various financing options,” Snyder said. “We want to make sure we engage in due diligence in order to arrive at a financial model that is in the long-term best interest of our students and university giving the scope of this 450-bed project.”

This marks the second consecutive year the housing department has had to utilize Homestead Studio Suites, which is located on University Drive in Auburn Hills, in order to accommodate residency requests.

A proposed new residence hall would add approximately 450 beds and could help alleviate the problem, but OUSC Vice President and former Residence Halls Association President Robbie Williford said this is still a ways off.

“We’re just meeting to go over the proposal with Jim Zentmeyer, which is what we did before we were stopped in our tracks,” Williford said.

Williford said before they were stopped last spring, they had received between 12 and 15 proposals from firms to complete work on the new residence hall.

“The new Board of Trustees chair (Michael) Kramer is all for housing,” he said.

Any proposal to build a new residence hall must go before the BOT.

Sept. 18 was the last day the housing department expected any major shifts from off-campus to on-campus residence because students can no longer drop classes for a full refund. However, Wickham said she is still working on placing students as quickly as possible.

According to Wickham, both the George T. Matthews Apartments and Hamlin Hall are being utilized as triple rooms with three students in them. The rooms were designed for this purpose.