Last week, the Office of Residence Life and Housing opened housing registration to students. Though the majority of the available options were familiar to students, Palmer, Piccolo, multiple Polo Road houses and Efird were notably absent from the list of residence halls, as they will be offline during the fall 2019 semester.
One factor influencing the decision to keep these dorms offline is the increased number of students who intend to study abroad during the fall 2019 semester. Though Wake Forest students annually study abroad in droves, the Office of Residence Life in housing reports that this year saw especially high numbers of students intending to spend their fall semester elsewhere.
“The university is seeing a larger number of students applying to study abroad during the fall 2019 semester,” the Office of Residence Life and Housing said in an email to the Old Gold & Black. “We are actively planning for those students to return to campus in spring 2020.”
Additionally, since the university acquired Deacon Place, the need for housing directly on campus is less urgent. Deacon Place adds hundreds of beds to the list of available options, freeing up space on campus for students returning from abroad. Though taking three dorms offline would have been unusual last year, the Office of Residence Life and Housing intends to test its new housing arrangement in light of the addition of Deacon Place.
“[Deacon Place] adds 328 additional beds to our available inventory, creating the need to evaluate how we approach occupancy management across our communities,” the Office of Residence Life and Housing said.
Though no permanent decision has been made, the Office of Residence Life and Housing informed the Old Gold & Black that it intends to make Efird and the Polo Road houses available during the spring 2020 semester.
One group that could be adversely affected by the decrease in residence halls is the Resident Advisor (RA) staff, as the decreased number of dorms naturally creates a decreased demand for RAs.
“Anytime we close a community, that impacts the number of RAs needed across campus,” the Office of Residence Life and Housing said. “We will continue to staff in such a way that allows our RAs to effectively work with and engage our communities.”
In an email sent to RAs on February 21, the Office of Residence Life and Housing stated that it “tentatively [planned] to keep Bostwick offline this fall,” but they eventually decided to retain Bostwick as a space for first-year students.