Towers closing creates housing shortages as university looks toward further development
In the fall of 2018, the university announced that the Christiana Towers will close at the end of this academic school year. The decision was made because the once-innovative residence hall is now draining the university of resources and requires heavy maintenance.
Though closing the Towers may be needed in this respect, it imposes certain restrictions on student choice in housing in the next academic year. As always, students will be guaranteed a room on campus, but with less say in room types or roommates.
“We guarantee a space, but not a type of space,” Michele Kane, the senior associate director of Resident Life and Housing, said in an email sent to 2019-2020 housing applicants.
In prior years, students were given the opportunity to self-select housing characteristics. However, this year, students will be prioritized by their application date, with students applying in the fall holding the ability to self-select, while those currently applying in February will have the least preference.
The Towers hold roughly 1,250 beds. Meanwhile, the University Courtyard Apartments — bought by the university as a substitution for the towers — hold 880 beds. This results in a net loss of 370 beds, despite the fact that the university welcomed its largest class ever, of 4,300 students, last year, and plans to dramatically increase its future graduate population.
Additionally, Warner Hall will be converted to a counseling and wellness center — estimated to be completed by August 2019 — eliminating another 68 beds.
With the impending shutdown and demolition of the Towers come new renovations throughout the rest of campus, such as a $60 million renovation of Delaware Stadium and the construction of a $156 million biopharmaceutical innovation building on STAR campus. The university also intends on building a new $80 million dormitory — named South College Residence Hall — near Morris Library. However, this building will not open until 2023 or 2024.
Though the university is revamping the campus with the intention of eventually improving student life, the impending bed shortage will limit students’ ability to choose their living space.
Additionally, the closing of the Towers marks a shortage of apartment style housing — a strong preference of many students.
“If you are part of the group which will be assigned over the summer, we will do our best to keep roommate groups together, but it won’t always be possible,” university officials stated in an email to students who had applied for housing.
“If you want to be guaranteed an apartment, you should consider looking off campus,” said Kane in his email to 2019-2020 housing contractees. The university, as such, will be holding an off-campus housing fair during the second week of spring semester.