Housing crunch at Lyon College

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Tuesday was the first day of class for the students at Lyon College in Batesville. For the second year in a row the college is experiencing record freshman attendance. And that's causing a housing crunch!

Unless they live at home or commute, freshman students must live on campus.  This year, like last year, has seen record enrollments in freshmen and transfer students. Finding a place for everyone to live is forcing the college to look kind of off campus for housing

Unlike many colleges that have lots of dorm spaces and apartments. Lyon College is kind of stretched at the moment. So what do they do when the dorms get full? Well they put the kids out on the streets.

Like 23rd street just off the campus where several houses are owned by the college and are home to upper classmen like number 445. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. 6 Sophomores.

Les McCall says he is glad to be out of a dorm situation.

"I like to be able to cook my own food every once in a while. It's kinda nice and I don't have to deal with walking down halls with 30 other guys."

Most of Lyon's Dorms are not large buildings like the 4 dorms that surround the freshman quad. The six guys that live on 23rd street all lived in the dorms last year as freshmen.

Dr. Bruce Johnston the Dean of Students said the large number of freshmen last year has caused more upper classmen to move into alternative housing. They started using the homes last year.

"This year we're using 13. Last year I believe we used 2."

445 23rd street is one of two learning communities. All the residents are pre-med. They must come up with a focus statement and a plan to help in the community.

Johnston, "They have got faculty advisors who are going to support them in that programming and those will be additions to our community."

Housing is generally allocated in the Spring. Class rank determines the order in which you will live.

Pierre Canisius is from Rwanda he, like the others lived in the dorm his freshmen year.

"It would be better for freshmen to live in campus houses on campus and for upper classes to live off campus." He likes the ability to share the kitchen and other spaces.

Even with the large Redroom which was added to the house in the past and where they set up all their computers, 445 23rd street can still get a little cramped with 6 guys.

Zack Cummings says the extra room is a lifesaver since all their computers and desks wouldn't fit into the bedrooms.

"We have a place to set up the TV, hang out at night and just chill and study if need be."

Well it is only the first day of classes. How much homework can you have?

Johnston, "The biggest challenges are, you've got a group of students living together who are using in some cases 1 or two bathrooms. That's always a challenge, but these guys will work these things out for each other." Cummings says he would like bigger bedrooms but beggars can't be choosers.

Difficult as it may be to deal with. Dr. Johnston said this housing issue is not a bad thing. Lyon has been waiting a long time for this problem.

"We wanted to have the opportunity to expand our residential population. To grow."

The college also owns the Sturbridge apartments, another source of off campus housing.

Dr. Johnston says they may have to build more housing if enrollment keeps climbing. This year they have had 204 freshmen begin classes and he says there is not a spare room in the house.

So the guys on 23rd street continue settling in. Freshman friends and now roomies.

Dustin Velcoff said it will be an interesting year living with these other 5 guys.

"If we had been randomly assigned people. It might not have worked out so well."

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