Stephens College to close two residence halls for repairs

Thursday, March 5, 2009 | 7:25 p.m. CST; updated 10:08 p.m. CST, Thursday, March 5, 2009

COLUMBIA — Stephens College is closing two residence halls temporarily, students were told Wednesday night.

Searcy and Prunty halls are shutting down next year for mechanical and engineering repairs and to realize cost savings, said Stephens President Wendy Libby. The move will shift about 100 students and 40 pets that were allowed in the two dorms.

Six other residence halls will be available, with some offering shared rooms. Others — including Wood, Columbia and Hillcrest halls — will still make single rooms available.

According to Libby, Hillcrest is a large residence hall with two wings where students from Prunty and Searcy can keep pets, although these residents will not be assigned suite-style rooms. Several Hillcrest features include these suite-style rooms, private bathrooms and air conditioning, which Prunty and Searcy do not have, she said.

“Certain parts of Hillcrest Hall are double-occupancy suites, and certain parts are singles, so if students choose to have double occupancy, they can,” Libby said.

Libby also said Kappa Delta sorority members will move into Hillcrest, where students can bring furniture and personalize their rooms.

Stephens junior Polly Edelstein said she was concerned about the increase in double-occupancy rooms because it “stifles independence." She also complained that the school's policy requiring students to live on campus all four years is too expensive.

“In these tough economic times, Stephens is a costly place to live, with dorms ranging from $4,600 to $7,000 for a nine-month school year,” Edelstein said.

However, Edelstein said she was pleased with the announcement that tuition would increase only 5 percent next year, less than the 6 percent increase students saw this year.

Similar to many other colleges over the past several months, Stephens has struggled with economic issues.

“Families are looking to save money,” Libby said. “Hillcrest is available at a lesser charge than what students are paying at Prunty and Searcy.”

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