By Joseph West
At a press conference Friday, Albany State University President Everette J. Freeman revealed the university’s plans to house 200 students more than normal.
“We will increase the number of students housed in a room from two to three,” Freeman said, outlining the university’s plan that will allow the continuation of its policy to house all freshmen on campus who live outside of a 50-mile radius of ASU.
Students required to live three to a room instead of the normal two students per room will be given a reduced rate for housing.
“The housing problem is a good problem,” Freeman said. “Albany benefits from a rich student body in terms of numbers. The city benefits from the increase in enrollment and the multiplier effect on area business.”
Freeman said that the university has enjoyed continued growth even though it is experiencing some growing pains.
“At a university, students have to learn how it is to live with someone,” he said. “It is part of the learning process. Students learn how to live in a community. We have done it before, and our students have become better students as a result.”
University officials and students expect the continued sluggishness in the economy will contribute to a continued increased demand for on-campus housing.
“More people are opting to return to school instead of seeking employment,” Freeman said. “I want to thank the ASU student body for contributing to the solution for the increased demand for housing.”
ASU students recently voted to increase student fees by $100 per semester to fund the construction of a new student center and two additional residence halls. Construction on both will begin later this month and will be ready for occupancy by August 2011, university officials said.
Xavier Jones, SGA vice president said, “The administration is doing an outstanding job making sure students have what they need. The Student Government Association supports the administration’s efforts.”
Vice President for Fiscal Affairs Larry Wakefield said putting three students in a room gives the university flexibility when dealing with more applicants for housing than anticipated.
“This is only a temporary problem,” Wakefield said. “By the fall of next year, the 600 additional beds available for students should resolve this problem.”
The university Is scheduled to break ground on the construction of the two residence halls and the student center on Aug. 20.