Another influx of students pushes college’s capacity


 

The challenge his office faced was not so much having more students than on-campus housing could accommodate, but to know how many students to initially prepare for.

“For a number of reasons we want to house as many students in our own housing as we can,” he said. “In our approach to this we really tried to come up with some buffer zones because (starting enrollment) is such a moving target.

“We simply don’t know how many students are going to show up when classes start.”

Codding said the buffer included forming “triples” by assigning an additional student to larger dorm rooms that had been designated for two students; reconfiguring space in Oklahoma Hall in the men’s quad; and assigning single students to some areas that were being considered for married housing.

To furnish the three-student rooms, the college staff brought in an additional bed, dresser, desk and wardrobe.

“We were calling up furniture suppliers in the 11th hour,” Codding said. In most cases, that meant waiting for shipments to arrive from suppliers in Pennsylvania.

“The amazing thing is we got what we needed on the day fall athletes were arriving,” he said, referring to Aug. 18. “They were due to arrive at 1 p.m. or 1:30 and we had a truck delivery at about 7:30 in the morning.”

Codding said the college did not have to rent any houses in town that it did not already own.

“It’s an adequate housing arrangement,” he said. “If we have some vacancies that we didn’t anticipate—students don’t show, or they don’t remain after the first few weeks—then we can look at some of these triples and rearrange some of our students.”

Codding said being a residential college benefits Tabor both financially and philosophically.

“Generally speaking, students simply do better in school when they live on campus,” he said. “That’s not true in every case, but generally speaking it is.”

He said the current squeeze seems to be taken in stride.

“From what we can tell, I think this will work out quite well,” he said. “Students, admission counselors and athletic recruiters by in large have been very understanding and kind of going with the flow.

“Of course, there’s a real excitement in having a real influx of students.”

Beyond housing, Codding said the college likely will be moving to double chapel sessions because the chapel is not large enough accommodate the entire student body.

“Typically, we have chapel on Monday and Wednesday at 11 o’clock,” he said. “What we think we’re going to do is have chapel on Monday and Wednes­day at 11 for about half of our campus, and then about 11:40 for the other half.

“All we need for that scenario is for about half of our students to not have a 12 o’clock class,” he added. “Classes start on the hour.”

Having two sessions instead of one could be advantageous for another reason, he added.

“Actually, it would alleviate a rush in our cafeteria that typically happens at about 11:40.”

Codding said he is not aware of any plans, in case the enrollment trend continues, to consider additional permanent on-campus housing. At least not yet.

“At this point there is some water-cooler conversation about ways to maximize the facilities we already have,” he said. “I estimate we could probably, without too much of a problem, create maybe 20 more beds without actually building new structures. But those are just ideas right now.”


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