WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Record enrollment has Purdue getting innovative when it comes to student housing.
"It's the sheer number," said Assistant Vice Provost for Student Life Barb Frazee. "We just weren't anticipating that there would be so many students."
Purdue Vice Provost for Student Life Beth McCuskey said getting 15,000 students into housing can be a challenge.
"All hands were on deck figuring this out," said McCuskey.
Purdue will start the 2021 fall semester with its largest incoming freshman class in history, and the incoming class has almost 1,200 more students than last year.
So, McCuskey said the university had to get creative.
"Some of these might be small double rooms that we have used for singles for a while," she said. "So, we did go back to using those as a double. Some might be, like in this case, where it's used for studying or for meetings that we've been able to accomodate students in a bedroom setting."
The university was able to add 2,000 permanent beds.
One-thousand are throughout campus residence halls, and another 1,000 are in off-campus apartments.
McCuskey said everything was done with student safety in mind.
"Every space that we have has been vetted and toured by our fire protection people, our safety office to make sure that they meet all of the needs from a safety perspective," McCuskey explained.
However, there are about 1,000 students on a housing wait list. So, some students may have temporary housing.
"As we continue to progress through, we will be talking to students," McCuskey said. "We will be reaching out and confirming their attendance. Hopefully, it they're not planning to attend, we'll find that out early enough to get people assigned on the spot so that they won't have to have a temporary assignment."
Frazee said it's been a challenge, but it shows how dedicated the university is to its students.
"We could have very easily sent a letter and said, 'We're full,' or we could have said, 'Please take a gap year,'" she explained. Instead, we really, really want every student to know that we want them here, and we're working very hard to make sure that they have a true Boilermaker experience."
The university held town halls for parents to let them know about the housing changes.
McCuskey said they are openly communicating with parents and students to address any concerns.