By Adam Baker/News writer

Eastern’s Housing Office will be shaking things up next year with several changes to campus residence halls.After a meeting between the Housing Office and Student Affairs last Wednesday, a new fall 2003 campus housing plan was made official. The design includes additional non-smoking floors, first-year-student only halls and upperclassmen only halls.

Smoke-free

In the new housing layout, according to Kenna Middleton, director of housing, a little more than 50 percent of bed space will be non-smoking. All halls will have at least one non-smoking floor and two halls, Case and Palmer, will become totally smoke-free environments.

Middleton said her office felt these changes were needed after nearly 70 percent of students stated they were non-smokers and 45 percent of students requested smoke-free environments on resident lifestyle forms.

However, with these new smoking rules, Middleton noted some students might find it difficult to comply.

“I think it will really be important as we move in this direction that we also give assistance to people who are interested in smoking cessation programs,” she said.

With the move to a more smoke-free environment, Middleton explained she and Facilities Services would also be looking into improving the ventilation systems in residence halls. Rules enforcing a smoke-free lifestyle, Middleton said, may also be changed.

“I’m sure that in the end it will come down to that there are going to have to be some penalties if you don’t comply with what the lifestyle agreement is,” she said.

Halls by Class

The new housing plan also consists of residence halls set aside specifically for students of a certain class level.

Case Hall and Palmer Hall will be reserved for first year students only.

Middleton explained nearly 450 students requested a first year experience dorm last year. However, Case Hall, housing just 130 residents, was the only hall of this kind at the time.

Because of the high demand for first-year-student-only halls, the Housing Office decided to declare Palmer Hall a first year experience hall as well.

“Palmer became the place that, logistically, was a prime location,” she said, noting its proximity to the Powell Building and central campus.

Middleton said current residents of Palmer Hall, and anyone else affected by campus housing changes, will get a priority move before the official room change date.

First-year students will not be the only ones who will have their own special place on campus, Middleton said. Clay Hall will be an upperclassmen-only hall.

She said to be accepted into Clay Hall, residents will not be required to complete a set amount of course credits, but rather “simply already had your on-campus experience.”

Private rooms

Despite rumors, Middleton said private rooms will be offered next semester, but residents who do not currently have a private room must wait to declare private in the fall. Residents who currently have private rooms are reissued privates automatically.

Eastern’s housing policy currently has no deadline for applications; therefore, campus housing is typically overloaded at the start of the semester. Conversely, once classes begin the number usually decreases.