If housing occupancy remains below 94%, Otterbein University campus housing prices could up for students.
The number of housing spaces at Otterbein University are 92% occupied. This is lower than Otterbein’s five year average of 94%. If this trend continues, campus housing prices could go up for Otterbein students in the future, according to Tracy Benner, the director of residence life.
“This can cause budget issues because we do our budget projections for the university based on that five year average...we are a little bit below that average for this spring,” said Benner.
The budget that was set for university was set to be two percent fuller, according to Benner. This means Benner and her staff look at why they are less full and if there are things they can do to help change that in the future.
“We strive for 85% of incoming freshman to live on campus and we were hitting that target for a number of years and then we dropped a couple of years ago...we dropped to 84% to 80% and then 76%. This past fall we were at 79%,” said Benner.
Benner and her team's goal is to get the incoming freshman occupancy to the low or mid-80s.
“Renovating residence halls is something that we look at. This summer we will be doing some renovations in Garst Hall and continue to improve our facilities so that students are inclined to want to stay on campus,” said Benner
“I just moved on to campus this semester, I’ve never seen it prior to the renovation… It's not the best residence hall, but I enjoy it," said Malachi Brooks, a first year public relations major. "The laundry room in Garst looks outdated and there are only two washers and dryers. They’re always occupied and there isn’t a good system.”
“Whenever we put in a maintenance request it usually does not get replaced. Beginning of last semester one of the shower doors would not close...other than that it's a nice dorm and everyone is very respectful,” said Lauren Absten, a freshman music education major who lives in Garst Hall.
There are painting and remodeling projects each year in DeVore Hall and 25 West Home Street. Renovations are on a three year rotation. Each summer Otterbein does painting and floor replacement to the Commons Apartments. These renovations are on a four year rotation cycle, according to Benner.
“We do larger projects which we have been doing almost every year since 1998,” said Benner. "This includes Davis Hall, Mayne Hall, Clements Hall and Hanby Hall. In 2005 the furniture in Dunlap King Hall was replaced," said Benner.
Otterbein is looking into updating Scott Hall and Engle Hall potentially in the near future. According to Benner, there is no confirmation on this yet.