University makes room for more students
The largest incoming freshman class in the university’s history — a total of 4,305 — is a trend that can be expected to continue.
University president Dennis Assanis has created an initiative to enroll an additional 1,000 undergraduate students over the next five years, with 2017 being the first.
“I’m not aware of any changes to any of our policies just because of the increase in the number of students,” Peter Krawchyk ,vice president for facilities, real estate and auxiliary services & university architect, said. “We do know we do have the classroom capacity to accommodate that increase.”
An enrollment committee created by Christopher Lucier, the founding vice president for enrollment management, has determined that there is no need for another academic building to take in the expected influx of students.
The newest additions to the Newark campus, most notably the Caesar Rodney and South Academy residence halls, were built to accommodate students after former residences on West Campus — Dickinson and Caesar Rodney Residence Hall Complexes — became defunct in 2015.
“The goal that we’re looking at is to bring any new buildings closer and closer to the center of campus,” Krawchyk said.
To continue to accommodate Assanis’ initiative, there are plans to build another residence hall that will mirror the South Academy residence hall, which may affect the parking lot located at the 231 S. College Ave lot next to Morris library.
According to Richard Rind, the director of Auxiliary Services, the increase in the student body population will have no affect on availability of parking as of right now.
“We’re fortunate that we have space now, we’re not full. Most freshman don’t bring cars, even though they’re allowed to, most don’t,” Rind said.
However, if there were to be an insufficient number of parking spaces, and if this were to become a chronic problem, Rind suggested that auxiliary services would take many measures before deciding to build more parking, which can be costly.
“There are a lot of different things that can be done to control demand,” he said. “Freshman may not be allowed to bring their cars, it may happen. We haven’t had any of those discussions yet, because we’re not close to being out of parking.”
Krawchyk, however, added that STAR Campus has always been a “safety valve” that the university can lean on if they were ever to run into any parking issues.
Due to the increased amount of activities on South Campus, as well as on the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus, Krawchyk also mentioned the possibility of building a dining hall on South Campus. A dining survey in conjunction with Aramark was emailed to university students in the second week of October to determine if this would be a necessary addition. No plans or promises, however, have been made yet.
Though the university is not “built-out,” and there is physical space on campus to welcome more students, the pressure on the City of Newark is not an easy one. Many students, particularly after their first two years as students, move to off-campus to apartments conveniently located on or around Main Street.
“We are not the housing department of the University of Delaware,” Jerry Clifton , a Newark City Council member, said at a Newark City Council meeting on Oct. 23.
Many developers have created housing in Newark to accommodate the growing student population, looking for locations that are close to campus and close to the excitement of downtown Newark. There is a notable lack of affordable housing nearby downtown for full time residents.
“If something doesn’t change, Main Street might as well be bought out by the university,” Clifton remarked. “And again, I can’t say it enough, we’re vibrant partially because of the University of Delaware, but at some point there has to be a line in the sand.”