All but one bed on campus was filled this past move-in day, and the possibility of future record-breaking class sizes has the administration evaluating their options.
Executive Director of Residential Living and Leadership Nathan Thomas said a fair amount of change has taken place since then, yet campus occupancy is still at 98 percent.
“Usually we are at a pretty consistent 95 percent,” he said. “But from the housing side of things, we have had no issues with the freshmen class being this size.”
The class of 2014 consists of a higher than usual amount of central Illinois students, allowing for more students to commute to class.
“We typically house 93 to 94 percent of freshmen, and this year we are housing 91 percent,” Thomas said.
Vice President for Student Affairs Alan Galsky said the university is fortunate for the amount of students attending from nearby towns.
“Next year, it’s pretty clear that, given our retention rate, and if we have a class close to what we had this year, we currently won’t have enough beds,” he said. “Therefore, we are looking into increasing the number of beds and also increasing the number of upscale living accommodations. If these accommodations are not on campus, we’d look to increase the security and aesthetics of the surrounding area.”
One option, Galsky said, is the Main Street Commons apartments, projected to be completed next August.
“We don’t have a good system without the Main Street Commons.”
Galsky said he anticipates enrollment to continue at approximately 1,120 incoming students for at least the next decade.
“It’s not an exact science, but that’s our goal,” he said. “We don’t want to get too much larger because that would defeat some of the Bradley niche.”
In order to have a sufficient number of beds available on campus, Galsky said he hopes that enough juniors and seniors will sign leases for the Main Street Commons.
“If that opens enough beds for us, we would certainly limit sophomores on Main Street,” he said. “If that is not the case, we will have to allow them that option.”
Thomas said there are three main concerns in providing sophomores with the Main Street Commons option.
“First is what the occupancy rate will end up being at the end of fall, second is what kind of space we will need and third is just developmental,” he said. “We need to know what processes will be taken for students to live off-campus. It will require a change in things we do for students to live there.”
Sophomores Corey Verseman, engineering major, and studio art major Kelsey Lishman, said they agreed that sophomores should not be allowed to apply to the Main Street Commons.
“If more juniors and seniors live there, there will be more room for sophomores on campus,” Lishman said.
“Also, I don’t think sophomores should be able to live there because they signed a two-year housing contract,” Verseman said. “Upperclassmen should have the priority.”
Though there are issues still to work out, Thomas said they are manageable.
“Main Street Commons is a great addition to what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s an avenue we haven’t been down before as a university.”