UAF

Pedestrians pass in front of Stevens Hall on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus Wednesday afternoon, July 12, 2017. 

Three lower campus dormitories at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will be closed during the upcoming school year.

Holly Beamon, acting director of residence life, confirmed Tuesday that Lathrop Hall and Nerland Hall will be closing for the 2019-2020 school year. The two closings will be in addition to last year’s closing of Stevens Hall.

Beamon said that at this point the university doesn’t need the space, as they don’t have that many people in need of housing.

“We’re just trying to be responsible with knowing where our enrollment numbers are in occupancy specifically,” she said.

Citing decreasing enrollment, Beamon said she didn’t think the halls closing would be a surprise to students.

“No one had been assigned to those spaces, and so I would say the impact has been pretty low,” she said, adding that students have been understanding.

Residence hall occupancy at UAF rebounded to 80% total occupancy for the fall semester of last year, according to data from residence life, after dropping to 78% from 87% between fall 2016 and fall 2017.

Although the halls will be closed to students, the university is looking to move departments working out of the administrative services building off campus into Lathrop Hall in fall. Administrative services includes staff from human resources, financial services, procurement, contract services and planning analysis and institutional research.

University spokeswoman Marmian Grimes said the university is aiming to reduce its footprint, which “entails moving some units back on campus that may be off campus,” as is the case with administrative services.

The decision to close up two more residence halls coincides with a new UAF policy requiring freshmen students to live on campus for their first year at the university. The policy will take effect with the fall 2019 semester.

The requirement applies to all freshmen under 21, enrolled in nine credits or more.

There are some exceptions, however: those who are married, in a registered domestic partnership or civil union; a parent with custody of a child, or children, or caring for a dependent; those who are living with immediate family or legal guardian within a 40-mile radius of campus; those who can cite extenuating circumstances; and those who are using only eCampus credits.

Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510