Wichita State University (WSU) has created more than 200 new occupancies in existing dorms because of increased enrollment.
There were 15,081 students enrolled at WSU in the fall of 2017, an increase of 607 students from the fall of 2016. The freshman class of 1,436 students was the largest in school history for the second consecutive year, according to WSU officials.
“I think it’s huge. I think the more folks we bring in here to Wichita State and if we can attract talent and retain talent here in Wichita, It’s huge for the community and our local economy,” said Wichita State Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Katie Austin.
Austin said in the fall of 2017, WSU had more students who wanted to live on campus than the university had available.
“We created some temporary spaces, an expanded occupancy plan in which we were able to put folks in some of our larger spaces, to really accommodate everyone who wanted to live on campus,” Austin explained. “This year to be proactive, we made sure to have a plan in place with occupancy increased to 1,400.”
In order to add the extra beds, the university has doubled and tripled some of the existing dorm rooms.
“That means some of these spaces that were designed to originally hold one or two, might have three. A single might have a double, but, again, we have chosen those pretty strategically to make sure they still feel spacious and they still feel like they have got a comfortable living space,” she said.
KSN got a tour of the Flats Apartments to look at the current living conditions. The Flats offers a number of amenities spacious living rooms, full kitchens, private bathrooms, walk-in-closets, in room laundry and an outdoor pool.
“It’s nothing like what maybe your parents stayed in back in the day. Dorm rooms have taken on a whole new meaning. It really is a comfortable living space for students,” Austin said. “We feel that we are still providing a very comfortable area for students to live, learn and be Wichita State students.”
The students are able to select the room they want to live in. They are also made aware of the living arrangements, including an extra roommate before they move in.
“They are opting into these space. We aren’t placing them in,” Austin said.
If a person is added to a room, the rent drops accordingly.
Overall, WSU officials told KSN they’re eager for the university’s future. Construction has begun on a new dorm on campus. It’s expected to open in the fall of 2019.