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Enrollment outpacing dorm capacity

Jason D. Cox
Staff Writer

Even with the new dorm scheduled to open in Fall 2012, University of La Verne housing could still have a tough time keeping pace with enrollment if enrollment continues to grow as it has for the past few years.

The new residence hall, currently under construction on D Street between First and Second streets, is the latest attempt by the University of La Verne administration to dam the flood that is the influx of new students.

“This last semester, we had to triple up in rooms, send students to the Sheraton Hotel and even turn some students away,” Associate Vice President of Facility and Technology Services Clive Houston-Brown said. “We still have far more need than we have the ability to handle.”

ULV had a 300 percent increase in the number of applications received from prospective new students for fall 2011.

And if ULV is to keep pace with this growth, adequate residential facilities must be added and current facilities must be improved or replaced.

When The Oaks residential facilities were first constructed in the early 1990s, ULV was housing approximately 40 percent of its undergraduate students.

Enrollment has grown for nearly two decades and residence halls have not been added or expanded. The number of traditional undergraduate students currently living on campus has dropped to about 25 percent, according to Houston-Brown and President Steve Morgan.

“The Board of Trustees made a strategic decision to be more residential,” Senior Director of Central Services and Capital Planning Chip West said.

“We would like to enhance the University’s capacity and house more of the students on campus,” Morgan said.

A goal now is to raise the percentage of traditional undergraduate students living on campus to 50 percent in order to give students a better sense of an on-campus community.

Increased enrollment provides plenty of students to form a campus community.

New students arrived on campus in numbers just shy of 2,000 last fall semester and the campus is only just now adding less than 400 beds.

“When I look at the campus now, versus how it was three or four years ago, it’s like it has come alive,” Houston-Brown said. “You see students all the time all over the campus.”

“The advantage of a residential facility is that the revenue you make from the use of the building can be used to pay for it,” Director of Student Housing Juan Regalado said. “That’s in contrast to an academic building, for which you’d have to do some fundraising.”

Another advantage to building now is that, with the current economic situation, the cost of construction is relatively low.

Administration hopes that bringing start and end times of classes into better alignment and reducing the overlap of the term and semester programs, will fill classrooms that were previously sitting empty with additional classes.

Plans for a new academic facility are also in motion.

The need for additional parking is also being addressed. There are plans in motion to construct a 386-space parking lot and as the Master Plan continues to progress, more parking will be added as is possible.

The new residence hall is the final part of the current phase of La Verne’s Master Plan.

Jason D. Cox can be reached at jason.cox@laverne.edu.

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