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Dorms full at Shepherd College

August 22, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - There are four dressers in Jimmy Winland's makeshift dorm room at Shepherd College, but there are six people staying in the room.

"As you can see, my clothes are still over there," said Winland.

Some of Winland's clothes were folded in a plastic basket and others are on the floor.

There are three desks and two tables in the room, but Winland said they often are covered with the occupants' belongings, making it difficult to study.

He said he misses the Internet connection the other dorm rooms have. Because the room has more people in it than most, Winland said he has to be mindful of everyone's sleeping habits at night.

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And so goes the sometimes crowded dormitory life at Shepherd College.

This is the third year in a row Shepherd College has not had enough rooms for all the students who wanted to live in the school's dorms.

Shepherd has space for 1,048 students in its 12 dormitory buildings. This year, there are 28 more students than dorm room space allows, said Luoluo Hong, dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs.

That means school officials had to find space to house the students. They did so by converting several study lounges into dorm rooms, Hong said.

Between four and eight students are staying in the converted rooms, and although each student has a bed, the desks or dressers might have to be shared, Hong said.

Sometimes, the overcrowding naturally corrects itself.

Some students may drop out, for instance. In the previous two years, many of the students who found themselves in the temporary housing eventually were moved into regular housing, Hong said.

Two years ago, all the students in temporary housing were eventually moved into regular housing and last year two students stayed in temporary housing the entire year, according to Hong. Those two students were given discounts on their rooms, she said.

Meanwhile, school officials are making plans to expand dormitory housing at Shepherd. The plan calls for building a 600-bed apartment complex on the west campus, to be completed by 2004, Hong said.

Under the school's policy, students who apply before June 1 are guaranteed dormitory rooms if that is the type of housing they choose, Hong said.

Students who apply after June 1 are not guaranteed dormitory housing, she said.

School officials work hard to make the dorms attractive, and they have been popular among students.

"This is really good for the housing office because it means we're doing something right," said Hong.

Students can live in dorms or off campus.

Although Hong said she did not have any figures to show what the freshmen have been choosing in recent years, the enrollment at the college has been increasing.

Enrollment figures for the school, which had 4,391 students last year, will not be known for this year for about another month, said college spokeswoman Valerie Owens.

Hong said it was unclear whether Gov. Bob Wise's PROMISE Scholarship program has resulted in an increase in the student population.

The PROMISE Scholarship was set up to give tuition breaks to high-achieving students.

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