A look at the living area, left, the the weight room, above, in Claflin Commons. (Panther photos by Andres Waters)
Students await date to populate
Commons, find more parking
This story is compiled from reports by Panther Editor Princess Williams, Andres Waters and Tyler Jackson
Students returned to campus in August to find that the university's new dorm, Claflin Commons, is still under construction.
Despite projections that the dorm would be ready for students to move in at the beginning of the new school year, a Claflin email of Aug. 8 advises that the dormitory will be open no later than Sept. 15.
"This opening date will ensure that our new residential complex is safe and will fulfill our commitment to provide an environment supportive of excellence in living and learning," according to the email sent by the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Students who had original housing assignments to live in the new dormitory are being housed in temporary accommodations, some on campus and others off.
"We expect that most of the students assigned to Claflin Commons will be housed on campus. Students living off campus will have access to the University's shuttle service transportation to and from the campus," according to the Claflin email.
"The University is working diligently to ensure that students, parents and the University community are informed of the arrangements."
The email advised that questions concerning housing be referred to Devin Randolph, assistant vice president for student development and services and director of residential life in the Office of Residential Life.
On Friday, Randolph said Sept. 15 remains the target date.
Not surprisingly, the situation is causing some consternation among students.
"The groundbreaking ceremony was over a year ago," senior Leslie Black said. "The dorm was supposed to be ready for students to move in on Aug. 18."
Senior KaShayla Bennett said, "I think this dorm situation is a complete mess. I was so excited to see the new addition to our campus only to find out it not even finished. I am now living in a different dorm here on campus and the fact that I have to move again when they finish the Commons has me frustrated too.
Junior CJ Riley is presently back in his former dorm, High Rise, and is concerned the projected Sept. 15 dates will not be met. "I wanted High Rise to be a distant memory."
Ground was broken on the $12 million 64,000-square-foot, environmentally sustainable Commons in September 2013.
The purpose of the dorm, which will house 100 males and 100 females and feature a fitness gym, is to have more of the university's students living on campus.
The commons area, which will separate the male and female wings, will include the main entrance, high ceilings with natural lighting, open gathering spaces, a multipurpose room for student meetings and two fitness rooms, Hudson said. Each wing will be divided into two- and four-bedroom suites and have an elevator, laundry room, computer lab and informal study areas.
Further complicating the on-campus situation is parking.
Work on Goff Avenue parking lots is not complete and the university's Goff Avenue Enhancement Plan, which was approved by Orangeburg City Council, means removal of on-street parking spaces in the 700 and 800 blocks of Goff Avenue.
Senior Leslie Black, "They don't think about the students or how few spaces they offer to us. Most on-campus spots are reserved, but they blocked off two parking lots that were supposed to be paved before we even got back."
Senior Gaby Roland said, "Parking is horrible, there aren't enough spaces for students."