By Adam Baker/News writer

Residents returning to campus housing next year may find serious changes to their floor or even hall as Eastern’s housing office modifies current plans. According to Keena Middleton, director of housing and resident life, a “comprehensive, long term” housing plan is in the works for the fall 2003 semester.

“It (the plan) will not only make next year better but make years from now much better,” she said.

Prior to Monday morning Middleton said her office was moving “with a pre-set agenda” and had already sent letters out to current residents that would be affected by the changes next year. However, with the recent appointment of James Conneely, vice president of student affairs, the plan may now be adjusted.

Middleton explained new housing plans would be re-worked and finalized in a meeting Wednesday, after Progress press time.

“There may be some changes or it may all stay the same,” Middleton said.

Smoking

Adding non-smoking halls, Middleton said, would be one of the many issues discussed in Wednesday’s meeting.

“We don’t have as equitable amount of non-smoking floors as we should,” she said. “We’ve been assessing the number of non-smokers that we have and the number of persons requesting non-smoking halls.”

Middleton said the office will be looking at adding additional non-smoking floors and moving toward a more smoke-free environment in the years to come.

She noted specific numbers of the added non-smoking floors wouldn’t be available until after Wednesday’s meeting.

First Year Experience

Wednesday’s meeting will also determine if another “First Year Experience Hall,” like Case Hall, will be added to campus. Prior to the news of the meeting, Middleton planned to declare Palmer Hall as the next first year student dorm, but the issue will now be discussed further will Conneely.

“It may remain the same,” she said. “We won’t know until Wednesday.”

Middleton said the issue of adding another “First Year Experience Hall” was brought to her attention when her office noticed Case Hall did not hold all those students who were interested in the program.

“As you see programs that are growing you look for where you can expand them,” she said. “We want to meet students’ needs and make them happy.”

Security

Updating security will also be considered as an improvement in next year’s housing plan.

“We’re looking at updated technology systems like swipe cards,” she said.

Middleton explained that the upgrade would hopefully be “sooner than later” but probably will not include all 13 dorms having swipe card systems at once.

“In a perfect world you shut your eyes one night and open your eyes the next morning and there are card swipes on all the buildings,” she said. “In a real world I don’t know because those are not inexpensive systems — they require wiring and it’s also going to require some education on behalf of the students.”

She added, however, it is a change she hopes to implement as quickly as possible.

“When we close in May I would like them to start that wiring, but whether that’s a reality, I don’t know yet,” she said.

Check out the next edition of the Progress for the outcome of Wednesday’s housing meeting and an in-depth look at all the changes that will take place in Eastern residence halls next year.