Erickson renovations negatively impact rising juniors

Charlie Roiland

On Monday, April 3, the office of residential life sent a campus-wide email informing students that housing selection for the rising junior class was postponed. Due to renovations being made to Erickson’s B wing, the rising sophomore class needed alternate housing options. These were selected from available junior housing.

As a rising junior, I was disappointed that the 11th Avenue Flats would no longer be an option for my class. The housing available to sophomores for this past year was limited to Anderson, Bartholomew, Swanson and Erickson. While some are nicer (and more expensive) than others, all options consist of double rooms, which is not the case for the flats. With two or three single rooms per apartment, the flats are automatically a step up from typical sophomore housing.

The problem with reallocating junior housing to sophomores stems from the reality that it is one of the nicest housing options. However, if Augustana had communicated these plans further in advance it would have had less of a negative impact on the campus community.

Rising junior Bryn Hansmeier lived in Erickson this past year and hoped to live in the 11th Ave. Flats for this upcoming year. After a year of dealing with issue after issue, she was ready to live someplace nice.

“It was really frustrating because not only did the sophomores take the flats, but then I find out that Erickson’s getting renovated after we move out after having dealt with cockroaches, mold in our showers and no water for a long time,” Hansmeier said.

This year, I was lucky enough to live in Bartholomew, which is about as close to an apartment as you can get as a sophomore. While it was a definite step up from Erickson, the building is old and we found ourselves dealing with issues involving plumbing, heating, broken laundry machines and stink bugs amongst other less prominent issues.

Although it is positive that part of the rising sophomore class will not have to deal with the problems of buildings such as Erickson and Bartholomew, the fact that housing opportunities are taken away from the rising junior class is disappointing. 

Like Hansmeier, many students have lived in the dorms for the past two years and were looking forward to being able to live in a nicer place. While rising juniors still had multiple options to choose from, the 11th Avenue Flats were one of the main housing options for people with groups of 2-3. This change removed this option and left smaller groups needing to make an alternate plan close to housing selection.

Erickson renovations will begin during the 2023-2024 school year instead of taking place over the summer when the majority of students are not living on campus. While it may not have been possible for the college to begin these renovations any earlier, the timing of the decision threw a wrench in students’ plans and raised questions regarding the logic of the renovations.

“What are they going to do,” Hansmeier said. “Are they going to stretch it out for three years? What are they going to do when one wing is finished, are they going to move everyone out of B wing to D wing?”

The frustration of not being able to secure housing because of a lack of options for certain sizes of roommate groups has left many students pessimistic about the next year. Many juniors were unable to secure housing during the first round of selection and had to scramble to reconfigure their groups before the final round took place.

While renovations to Erickson are needed, earlier communication from Augustana in addition to working alongside students regarding decisions that affect them would likely have been incredibly useful. Small steps such as these could have prevented the majority of issues impacting the rising junior class. 

In the future, I hope that Augustana will be more forthcoming about plans regarding students’ existence on campus. In addition to the upcoming renovations to Erickson in the years to come, I believe that simply working with and informing students of decisions made regarding living spaces would prove to be extremely beneficial to the satisfaction of the campus as a whole.