News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 21, 2014

ISU trustees put hold on Reeve fees

Room and board rates at renovated ISU hall spark students’ concerns

TERRE HAUTE — Sorority concerns related to proposed room and board rates at the new Reeve Hall under construction at Indiana State University prompted trustees to table action Friday.

The residence hall, ISU’s first new campus housing facility in more than 40 years, is on track to open this fall. It will provide housing for eight ISU sororities, although it potentially could be used by other student groups.

Logan Valentine, Student Government Association president, said sororities have concerns about the proposed rates and some members — including those in leadership roles — are concerned about whether they could afford to live there.

“Since these numbers have come out, there has been an immense amount of concern throughout the sorority community,” Valentine said during the trustee meeting. He pointed out that many who attend ISU “come here because it’s a cheaper option than many other universities.”

He asked that action be tabled and further discussions take place with sororities, and President Dan Bradley recommended that action be tabled until the May trustee meeting. Bradley suggested there may be misunderstandings that need to be clarified.

At Reeve, a “premium room” with air conditioning, semi-private bath or deluxe amenities would cost $9,766 per year under a standard meal plan; several renovated residence halls also have premiums rooms at the same rate.

A premium “plus” room with air conditioning, private bath and deluxe amenities would be $10,786 at Reeve under the standard plan.

Reeve Hall also would have single room rates, $12,316 with community bath and $13,336 for single room with private bath.

The new, townhouse-style residence hall will have 360 beds with a mixture of rooms and costs, said Diann McKee, vice president for business affairs. Of that, 256 would be considered “premium,” while 96 would be “premium plus,” and of the 96 — 64 are designed to be singles.

“When we worked with student groups in the design of Reeve, there appeared to be a demand and interest in single rooms,” she told trustees.

At ISU, it is up to individual sororities whether sorority presidents must live on campus, said Dave Taylor, university spokesman. Reeve also will have eight larger “Presidential Suites,” but sorority presidents would not be required to live in them.

 If occupied as a single room, a Presidential Suite would cost $13,336 for the academic year; if two people resided in it, the cost would be $10,786, McKee said.

Trustee Ed Pease noted that trustees encouraged such a facility, similar to what other state institutions have provided. “We felt our kids deserved the same sort of high quality options available on other campuses,” he said.

He also expressed confidence that McKee had worked hard to keep rates as low as possible. Pease suggested that maybe scholarships could be established through the ISU Foundation to help defray expenses for those in sorority leadership positions; several years ago, something similar was done for fraternities, he said.

McKee said ISU is carrying debt on the new residence hall, which must be paid.

Amanda Knerr, executive director of residential life, said sororities will be required to fill 85 percent of their townhouse, or pod, with either sorority members or friends of members. Each pod has 45 beds.

The new housing is intended for upper class students; it is not for first-year students, she said.

Regular meetings have taken place with sororities and leadership related to Reeve Hall, Knerr said. Currently, sororities have housing in Lincoln Quad.

Trustees did approve room and board rate increases for other residence halls. In 2014-15, students will pay 2.9 percent more for basic housing and meal options. Rates for a standard double room and meal plan for incoming freshmen this fall will be $8,746 per year.

Higher rates apply for students who chose upgrades such as air conditioning, suites, private or semi-private baths and/or additional meal plan options.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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