by Brittney Nicole Atkins, Amy Betz, Caitlin Garrett and Taylor Farmer | Guest Writers
In November of 2017, Presbyterian College announced its plan to enhance the PC experience by initiating a plan titled “the Promise of PC”. This promise includes plans to upgrade academic and co-curricular activities, increase PC’s marketability to prospective students and update infrastructure. As a result of this decision, PC began construction in August of 2018 on new apartment-style senior housing.
Because of its recent construction and unique layout, the new housing has been a major topic of conversation among students this year, especially among current juniors hoping to live in the new apartments next year. The new buildings will be unlike any other housing option on campus. According to Drew Peterson, the associate dean of students and director of residence life, “[the apartments are] their own unique option built on the opinions of students we have surveyed over the past few years.” There will be 36 units, which will hold 144 students in total. Each unit will include a full kitchen, a common area, four single bedrooms and two bathrooms.
PC does not plan on ending their construction endeavors with the new senior housing. Instead, they hope to continue to update and renovate existing options to increase the college’s appeal and to make living conditions more comfortable for all students. “Everyone is looking for ways to get more progressive housing experience,” Peterson said. “Having these new buildings, in a great location on campus, with the convenience of living on campus– not having to worry about utilities, repairs, etc.– should be something that everyone can appreciate.” While PC plans to continue with construction, Peterson stated that school administration hopes the new housing will inspire excitement for upperclassman, and that it will pave the way for other infrastructure improvements around campus.
Any student who wishes to live in the new housing must be willing to pay roughly an extra $330 per semester to account for its updated features. Housing selection will be the same as other options, which means priority number will play a major role in determining who gets to live in the apartments.
When groundbreaking began in 2018, administration had scheduled construction so that the buildings would be finished before the start of the 2019 fall semester. However, unpredictable bouts of rain have set back the construction plans. This means that the administration can no longer guarantee that all three buildings will be completed by August.
At priority A housing selection, which took place on March 21, PC administration announced that one of the apartment complexes, the Grey building, may not be finished in time for move-in day. “We have asked students [who will be] living in [the] Grey building to select a back-up room to use until the building is ready in the event that it is not fully completed prior to the start of classes in August,” Peterson stated.
Katelyn Shiley, a rising senior who will be living in one of the new buildings next year, appreciates the honesty that PC administration has demonstrated by informing students of the setback and possible prolonged completion of the new housing. Shiley is interested in the new housing because the older options are notorious for needing maintenance and repairs. “I would assume PC’s faculty and staff would not like the buildings to be behind if they can help it. It’s not their fault if it does end up being incomplete at the beginning of next fall semester,” she said. “However, their communication [with] students is something they can control. Frustration really arises when the ‘promise of PC’ says one thing, but something else occurs.”
There was another announcement made at priority A housing selection, informing students that the townhouses’ C block will be closing at the end of this year. Students were surprised by this news, as many went to housing selection with the intention of choosing the C block as their future housing. Students who heard this news generally agreed that PC administration has a problem: lack of communication with its students, especially with rising seniors.
The price increase and updated amenities that will come with the new housing may make residence choices very difficult for rising seniors. This difficulty could be increased if students are not given the necessary information to make accurate, realistic choices about their housing for the next year. Administration is not responsible for whether construction is completed on time, but students agree that it is the administration’s responsibility to keep students informed about the progress as to prevent unpleasant situations on move-in day. It is definitely the administration’s responsibility to provide adequate housing equivalent to the new apartments for those affected by construction delays. Because seniors will be paying extra for the housing, it is important that their temporary accommodations be equal in quality to the ones that they are truly paying for.
At this point in time, the housing selection process for new seniors has been completed. PC administration claims that every student has been assigned a permanent room, and that back-up rooms have been assigned to those who may need them. The only thing students can do at this point is to wait and see if their housing is completed on time. If this is not possible, the responsibility will fall on the administration to be honest with students and to accommodate them fairly and appropriately.