Changes coming to residence

Jan. 15, 2007

Big changes are planned for Memorial University’s student housing complex in St. John’s. Starting in the fall of 2007 there will be more spaces made available for first-year students. The changes are being made in an effort to accommodate the increasing demand for residence spaces by students who are new to Memorial University and to the capital city region.

The university housing complex offers 1,500 beds. It includes Paton College, a series of 10 individual houses that accommodate 988 students in mostly double rooms.  Memorial’s student housing complex also includes Burton’s Pond Apartments, four buildings made up of mostly four-person apartments with kitchens and shared laundry facilities which accommodates 512 students.

For the past several years demand for on-campus accommodations has been outstripping the supply of residence spaces. Last year the demand rose to 2,800 for the available bed spaces. To supplement the rooms available on campus the university continues to make unique arrangements with private accommodations providers (Sunridge Place on Torbay Road, formerly Hillview Terrace Apartments).

The changes for the fall will recognize the special orientation needs of first-year students.

“Spaces have always been set aside for new students, but those have not been sufficient to meet the ever-growing demand from first-years,” said Christine Burke, Memorial’s director of student housing.

“Those students are facing the double challenge of adjusting to university life while at the same time adjusting to a more independent life in a city that for many is unfamiliar. So we recognize that we have a special obligation to assist in their integration to our community and housing them on campus is an important part of that.”

For the first time, starting this fall Burton’s Pond Apartments will be open to first-year students and the university will offer about 50 per cent of the available beds to these newcomers.  ”The first-years will share with senior students and that will help provide opportunities for role modeling and mentoring,” said Ms. Burke.

In Paton College the ratio of first-year to returning students will change.  This fall 68 per cent of the students in Paton College residences will be first-years and the remainder returning students.  “As with Burton’s Pond Apartments our senior residents will continue to provide both formal and informal support and mentoring of the incoming students,” said Ms. Burke.

“In St. John’s there are considerable housing options privately offered in close proximity or easy commuting distance to the university,” said Ms. Burke. “Our more senior students tend to gravitate to this more independent living model.  Students who do seek these alternative accommodations are assisted by our Off-Campus Housing Office. So, we’re confident that with these changes and the support and assistance we can provide that all the housing needs of our students will be met come the fall.”


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