UND has taken five of its 14 residence halls offline this year to accommodate construction and a decrease in student enrollment.
Bek, Johnstone, Fulton, Walsh and Swanson will not be available for 2019-2020 on-campus housing at UND. The school’s other residence halls – Brannon, Hancock, McVey, Noren, Selke, Smith, Squires, University Place and West – are at 92% occupancy, UND spokesman David Dodds said.
UND has 14 residence halls, plus Greek housing and family apartments. First-year students are required to live in a residence hall on campus for their first full academic year, with some exceptions. The residence halls typically are grouped based on major and include suite-style, community-style and single-style rooms.
Dodds said the university planned to have fewer residence halls available for multiple reasons.
Swanson was taken offline for safety and student experience reasons, due to construction of the new Memorial Union, Dodds said.
Additionally, UND had expected a leveling off or a potential decrease in enrollment this year, in part because the university changed its credit requirements for graduation a few years ago. Two years ago, the university changed the number of required credits for students, from 125 to 120. The change puts UND in line with most universities and colleges, former UND President Mark Kennedy said last year. The extra credits often meant students would have to spend another semester or, in some cases, an extra year at UND. The change also helped increase UND's graduation rate.
Dodds said the university budgeted for fewer students this year, adding that taking the other buildings offline was a way to address changing occupancy needs at UND.
“By taking buildings offline, we are able to reduce operating expenses and be good stewards of university and taxpayer support,” Dodds said, noting that the buildings that are not being used aren’t adding to the university’s lighting, heating and cooling costs.
UND posted a first-day enrollment of 13,372 this year, a slight dip from last year’s first-day numbers of 13,445.
UND’s official enrollment will be tallied on the North Dakota University System’s Census Day, the week of Sept. 23. In years past, UND’s enrollment has grown by several students between first day and Census Day as students continue to matriculate.
Meloney Linder, UND vice president for marketing and communications, said last week that the university is not surprised by the slight drop in first-day enrollment this year. Linder said university officials knew that would impact the number of enrolled students at UND.
“We did plan for that,” Linder said. “Part of that savings in taking those buildings is the rightsizing of campus.”