Residence halls face partial closures next fall

Declining occupancy in on-campus housing will impact five residence halls, resulting in partial floor closures for the 2021-22 academic year.

Centennial Hall, Dobson Hall, Missouri Hall and West Campus Suites will all have floor closures next academic year. Centennial Hall floors three through five, Dobson Hall floors two through five, Missouri Hall floors three through five and West Campus Suites fourth floor will be closed next fall semester. Floor one of Dobson is reserved for pet housing, and the first floor of Missouri is reserved for the Living Learning Community.

Randolph Apartments will be permanently decommissioned. This decision was announced last fall by Residence Life and is due to the building reaching the end of its usefulness.

Randolph Apartments will be permanently decommissioned next semester. After this spring, the building will no longer be needed for student housing. Photo by Ryan Pivoney

The fifth floor of Missouri Hall is currently closed this spring semester. The fifth floor of Centennial Hall is reserved for students quarantining from COVID-19. Some apartments in the Campbell Apartments complex are also currently reserved for isolating students.

Residence Life Director Jamie Van Boxel said there are three major factors that determined why these floors will be closed. Overall occupancy projections for next semester is one factor. Van Boxel said Residence Life currently projects that less space will be needed for student housing than the previous fall semester because fewer students will be living on campus, but projections are currently around the same as this semester. 

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Last fall, Residence Life reported there were 1,500 students living on campus.

Van Boxel said determining which buildings and floors students are most interested in also impacts the closure decisions. This is decided by utilizing room selection from previous years.

Daily operational costs are the last major factor for determining building and floor closures, as costs decrease with lower occupancy. Missouri Hall has a higher daily operational cost than other residence halls due to the specific type of HVAC in each room, which led to its partial closure.

Van Boxel said the number of student advisors will decrease, but the ratio of student advisors to students will remain the same.

“Every year we have a certain number of SA’s that are graduating and a certain number that decide not to come back for the next year,” Van Boxel said. “So based on those numbers already it looks like nobody who is on the team this year, who is qualified to come back, aren’t able to come back.”

Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said the primary savings come from reduced custodial staff. Community-style bathrooms require more work from the custodial staff as opposed to suite-style bathrooms. 

Rector said the cost of running a residence hall varies depending on the building’s size and efficiency.

“The newest [building] is West Campus, so in terms of heating and cooling in square foot it is going to be cheaper than BNB built in the 1950s,” Rector said.

Rector said he does not think enrollment will drop more, especially after COVID. He said he thinks Truman is at an optimal level this semester with the number of students and residence halls open.