Residence Life Team Hunts for Housing

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Financial District, NEW YORK—Residence Life has intensified its search for additional blocks of apartments to accommodate the growing student body, hoping to secure new housing within a 10-12-block radius of the New York Stock Exchange.

“The intuitive deadline for finding new housing is Aug. 2013,” Dan Woerner, Director of Student Life, said.

According to Shelli Cline, Assistant Dean of Students, the ideal situation would be to house the whole campus in a single building, but that situation does not seem plausible.

The school has canvassed the downtown area for buildings, mostly those with one-bedroom apartments in the style of The Vogue and the Herald Towers.  Residence Life is not currently touring buildings with studio apartments like Clark St.  So far, little looks promising.

Woerner said the increased quantity of housing demanded in the downtown area limits the availability of apartments within the $3000 per month rent range.  “The Financial District is beginning to revitalize itself.  It has been long enough after 9/11, so a lot of businesses are moving back, and in some instances, prices have gone up,” Woerner explained.

Additionally, many landlords have received complaints about college student residents in the past and don’t want to house them again.  “We try to explain that King’s students are different from the average college kids, but it’s hard to convince people of that,” Cline said.

Even when landlords are welcoming, Residence Life has been unsuccessful finding blocks of eight-10 apartments in the same building.  Woerner said the school does not want to scatter students all over Manhattan.

The King’s staff is also trying to find housing options for students who are already on the wait list.  The current King’s housing filled within five minutes after the applications became available online, leaving about 50 students without an assigned bed.  “We are being very proactive to make sure every student has a place to stay,” Cline said.

Cline is working with Residence Life to compile a list of alternative—technically off-campus—housing students can pursue themselves.  The list includes the Educational Housing Service, located directly across from the Clark St. residence, and The Salvation Army housing in Union Square.

Despite rumors, Cline assured that The Salvation Army residence does not function as a homeless shelter but rather houses working-class all-female tenants.  It also provides two meals per day and a weekly cleaning service.

King’s cannot reserve any more apartments in The Vogue or the Herald Towers, because New York’s updated college housing guidelines require that apartments comply with new fire safety regulations in order to be considered student residences.  Other New York City schools face similar issues with their campus housing.  Included in the regulations is a requirement that the apartments equipped with sprinklers, which neither The Vogue nor the Herald Towers meet.

King’s originally reduced the standard number of roommates for Midtown housing from four to three students per apartment as part of the process of being “grandfathered” out of The Vogue and the Herald Towers altogether.  For right now, students who plan to live in the Harold Towers will be placed in the A tower while the B and C towers undergo renovations.

King’s has reserved about 260 beds for the incoming class in Fall 2012.  If the new class is smaller than planned, beds will open up for wait-listed upperclassmen, but Cline said it is still too soon to know.  “What we’re trying to avoid is having extra beds.  The apartments cost about $3000 each month, and even now with all the apartments occupied, we just break even with housing funds,” she said.

Woerner expects the wait list to shrink as more students settle on off-campus apartments:  “If we can ultimately accommodate two-thirds of the waiting list, we will be doing okay, because the list will shuffle as students take it upon themselves to find places to live.”

This article originally appeared in the print edition April 20, 2012.

CampusCelina Durgin