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Space limits inspire new dorm, faculty tensions

As a new fall semester draws closer, incoming and returning students are scrambling to secure spots in Eastern University’s residence halls. But due to the limited space on campus, many will have to find alternative housing or be placed in Pennswood. In order to remedy this situation, plans are in the works to build a new residence hall by 2007.

“There’s no reason to believe it’s not going to happen, [though] no papers have been signed,” said Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president for student development.

The Housing Department allocates 450 beds for incoming students and 600 beds for returning students. However, the number of enrolling and returning students for fall 2005 is higher than expected.

Over and above the 1,050 residents Eastern has the capacity to accommodate on campus, 150 students have been put on a waiting list due to lack of beds this year.

The new hall would be built near North Campus Hall and Heritage House. The first floor would consist of offices and classrooms and the remaining floors would house resident students. The building would hold student apartments and a mix of doubles, triples, singles and quads.

This would add 160 extra beds on campus and eliminate the need for overcrowding rooms and sending overflow to Pennswood, where Eastern currently has 58 students living. An additional parking area would be built near the hall to accomodate residents and professors.

Brigham, President David Black and development officer Richard Eisenstaedt are discussing the possibilities for building the residence hall with an investment company.

The way the company works, Eastern would not have to pay for the construction of the building. Rather, they would lease land to the company and in return, the company would lease the hall to Eastern upon its completion.

The building would not only provide more space for residents and undergraduate academics, but also for the Department for Graduate and Professional Studies.

The department now rents space at Valley Forge, but if the building is completed, they will have primary use of the offices and classrooms on the first floor.

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