Expanding UMD's residence halls

Residence halls are where most first year students make their homes. Illustration by Rebecca Kottke.

Residence halls are where most first year students make their homes. Illustration by Rebecca Kottke.

People are drawn to Duluth for a variety of reasons. The great outdoors, the opportunities, the community—and the University of Minnesota, Duluth. With incoming classes of first-years growing larger, life in the residence halls and apartments is adapting to fit the demand.

Housing and Residence Life Director Jeremy Leiferman explained what adjustments are being made to accommodate first year students.

“The larger incoming classes for the past few years have resulted in higher occupancy rates for our housing facilities,” said Leiferman, “More specifically, all of our assignable bed spaces have been full and we’ve had some students living temporary accommodations in converted lounges.”

Aside from converted study lounges, another adaptation being made is placing students in “triple dorms” in Griggs Hall, or dorm rooms which have three residents instead of the typical two. Sophomore Alexis Kostek lived in a triple dorm in Griggs P last year.

“It was definitely tight, but in the end I did get to meet two really great people,” said Kostek, “Alone time was probably the biggest issue, but if you have good communication with your roommates it’s really not all that bad.”

Many first year students are unexpectedly placed into the on-campus apartments as well. Leiferman had words to assuage the concerns some apartment-dwelling first-years may have.

“For some students, it can be a little harder to find connections and community with other students in the apartments as compared to the residence halls. This is a great reason to connect with the RAs and RDs, attend events, [and] utilize the study and recreation spaces in the apartment facilities. [These] can help students build connections,” said Leiferman. He added that the Housing Information Desk in Lake Superior Hall is a “one-stop-shop” for any housing concerns or recreation.

With incoming classes growing ever larger, more permanent adaptations to residence life will be coming in the near future.

“We are working on early plans to construct an additional residence hall and dining space,” said Leiferman.

This new residence hall is potentially going to be an addition onto the end of Griggs S. However, the site will be officially determined during the design process.

“We plan to begin the design process later this fall. The design process will last at least a year, and construction would begin after that,” explained Leiferman.

These new facilities will help place incoming students more comfortably into housing. However, there are many steps, stages, and approvals that must take place before UMD students can expect to see the new residence hall and dining space.

“The new facility would not be open until Fall 2021 at the earliest,” concluded Leiferman.

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