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More room and board at Shepherd University

August 24, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Sidewalks wind through attractively landscaped areas, and one of the pathways leads to a wooden foot bridge that crosses a low area.

On the other side, the new apartment buildings rise into the sky.

They have a town house appearance, with alternating brick and siding exteriors.

The Birch Hall and Maple Hall apartments are the latest in student housing at Shepherd University.

Classes started Monday at Shepherd and, as in past years, college officials are expecting increases in enrollment.

Student housing has been at a premium at Shepherd and, in recent years, school officials made extra space by converting study lounges to dorm rooms.

With the Birch Hall and Maple Hall apartments built, this is the first year that the school has not had to set up temporary living areas, said Richard Stevens, assistant vice president for student affairs at Shepherd.

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The Birch Hall and Maple Hall apartments - which cost about $22 million - are on the northern section of the west campus and were opened to students for the fall semester after a little more than a year of construction.

The Birch Hall and Maple Hall apartments, which hold 300 students, have their own kitchen and bathrooms, Stevens said. Most of the apartments are for four people, although there are some six-person units.

Besides a kitchen, the four-person apartments have two bedrooms, a common area, one shower, one toilet and two bathroom sinks, Stevens said.

The apartments were built after Shepherd officials conducted a study asking students what they wanted for living facilities on campus.

"What we found is that students were looking for that next experience," Stevens said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at the apartments Tuesday at 11 a.m.

University officials said Wednesday that enrollment figures for this semester probably will not be finalized until the end of September because the school is still in the midst of a late registration period.

Projections call for the school's full-time equivalency enrollment to be about 3,500 students, which would be a 4 percent increase over the fall of 2005, said Marie Carter, vice president for enrollment management at Shepherd.

In the past, school officials have calculated the full-time equivalency enrollment by taking the total number of class hours being taken by every student and dividing it by 15 hours, the minimum of hours for a full-time student.

The school takes a head count enrollment but that is not a good indicator of full-time students because the number includes part-time students, school officials have said.

Shepherd officials are projecting their head count enrollment this fall will be about 4,075, a 3 percent increase over last fall, Carter said.

Kaylynn Shoop, a senior at Shepherd, is one of the residents in the new Birch Hall and Maple Hall apartments.

"They're really nice. It's really big inside," Shoop said.

Shoop said the air conditioning in the units was not set low enough, but college officials were working on that situation.

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