By: Alan Denton
Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC/ The Loop)—For most students, summer begins after their last final is completed, but students who live on campus have one last deadline to meet. All must be checked out of the dorms by May 6 at noon unless you are graduating or a currently competing athlete.
Steven Hood, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Housing, said that the deadline is in the best interest of the students and institution. “Because we are an educational institution,” said Hood, “and when classes aren’t going on, you have idle minds, with nothing to do, things can tend to go wrong. We want to try and avoid that both for the institution and for the students. We recognize that some may perceive it as rigid and inflexible but there is good reason for it.”
This could pose as a potential problem for students who don’t live close enough to come back for their graduating friends, but for most, coming back would be a simple inconvenience.
Lauren Griffin, a freshman from Cleveland, Tenn., said “I really am not effected by the move out date just because I don’t live too far away. So it’s not a problem for me to just come back for graduation.”
According to a March 2010 UTC document, 34 percent of the undergraduates live in campus housing as compared to Knoxville’s 26 percent and MTSU’s 12 percent. More than half of the student population comes from outside the immediate Chattanooga area with all but two of Tennessee’s 95 counties represented in the 2010 school year, the document says.
The month of May is the only time housing has the liberty to get projects finished without some of the thousands of visitors that roll through campus in June and July being here, according to Hood. The only exception is summer school housing in Walker Apartments, changing from the UC Foundation building that has housed summer students since it opened six years ago.
As of Monday, April 25, housing had 80 students ranging from people taking summer classes to the softball, golf, and cross-country team signed up for the first session Hood said.
Hood said there are three main projects for housing to be completed by this fall other than touch-up painting. Lockmiller will undergo Phase 2 remodeling, which means there will be cosmetic renovations (new carpet, new light fixtures, painting the walls and kitchen cabinets) done to the apartments to the left of the sand volleyball courts.
Locks will be changed in Guerry and UC Foundation for the first time since the university took over south campus. Thus far, UTC has changed three of the five buildings’ locks, including Walker Apartments over Christmas break. In May Guerry will be switched, and UC Foundation will be covered in August.
The most expensive project will be to continue to broaden the wireless coverage in campus housing. “In South Campus and in North Campus, we are expanding our wireless infrastructure,” Hood said. “All of Lockmiller will have it. All of Decosimo will have it and part of Johnson-Obear will. We are frankly behind the rest of the state in providing wireless in campus housing. That’s about a $100,000 investment in North and South Campus. And that will have about a third of campus housing to have wireless internet as a result of that including the other parts of campus that already had it.”
After the last camp has checked out in a specific building typically at the middle or end of July, the maintenance men change gears to prepping for the fall, according to Hood. Boling Apartments is one of the first buildings given attention to due to the football players moving in for fall camp and Stophel Apartments will be one of the last because it is used for summer orientations.
Hood said that 75 percent of the camps are finished by the beginning of July, which means rooms will be closed up. This poses a problem for housing because of the high summer humidity that creates mold.
In Boling Apartments, some students were greeted with commercial grade dehumidifiers when they arrived in August 2010 but didn’t allow it to hinder them. Griffin said, “As an incoming freshman, I was confused why it was all there. But we didn’t let it bother us. We just moved them out to the front porch, so we had room to move in all of our stuff.”
Hood doesn’t know if housing will pursue the state contracting company again to rent the mostly preventative equipment. The possibility still stands that UTC may purchase their own commercial grade dehumidifiers.
“We are looking at our end-of-the-year budget to make some decisions on that,” Hood said.