FINDLAY - When classes started last fall at the University of Findlay, a record enrollment meant 60 freshmen spent their first few weeks of college at a local hotel.
This fall, students have two additional choices in on-campus living: new townhouse apartments on Defiance Avenue, and an office building-turned-residence hall on Frazer Street.
The university's long-time requirement that all unmarried students under 22 live on campus has been changed to say that only freshmen and sophomores under 22 must live on campus. The requirement does not include those who live within a 30-mile commuting distance. Dave Emsweller, dean of students, said the university is expecting a similar number of freshmen as last year when classes begin Monday, and he believes they'll all have a room on campus. In the fall of 2000, a record enrollment of 711 full-time freshmen resulted in a shortage of beds in residence halls and university-owned houses.
“We are in the process of opening up a new residence hall that has 80 beds,” he said. “Then we'll open up the [university-built] townhouses as well.”
As soon as plans for the four-bedroom, three-bath townhouses were announced, students eagerly signed up. Each unit will house six students.
“The townhouses have been full since we announced them and allowed people to sign up,” Mr. Emsweller said. “When they did sign up, we encouraged students to sign up as groups. We want it to be like a real apartment experience.”
The new 80-bed residence hall actually is the first phase of the university's plan to convert Winebrenner Village nursing home to student housing.
Although the nursing home has not yet moved, a building across the street that houses an intergenerational day-care center on the first floor will house male and female students on the second, third, and fourth floors this fall.
When Winebrenner relocates to a planned $24 million retirement community on Findlay's south side, the university expects to create housing for 250 more students. Mr. Emsweller said that won't likely happen until 2003.
The new apartments, which were built in part with contributions from two members of the board of trustees and an alumnus, were just one of the construction projects going on this summer on campus, said Kathryn Kelly, university spokesman.
The Croy Physical Education Center underwent an $860,000 interior remodeling. First-floor locker rooms were redesigned, new locker rooms, coaches' offices, and a conference room were added, and the gymnasium floor was refinished.
Twenty-six classrooms and a lecture hall in Old Main, Brewer Science Hall, and Frost Science Center got carpeting, paint, tables, chairs, lighting, and technology updates. Thanks to an anonymous university trustee's donation, the front of Old Main facing North Main Street is getting new sidewalks and landscaping to be finished this fall.
Some modular classrooms bought from Bluffton College have been moved onto campus, Ms. Kelly said.
“We've grown so much that this is a way to be able to keep up with the growth and still serve our students and give them the quality of service they're accustomed to and expecting,” she said.
The university is a private college affiliated with the Church of God.