Georgia Southern housing at capacity as Kennedy Hall and University Villas remain closed

McClain Baxley

STATESBORO — Two of Georgia Southern University’s residence halls that were closed in the spring semester will not be open for living in the fall 2019 semester and the university is still figuring where to house the incoming freshman class. 

Kennedy Hall, which was closed in January for mold, and parts of University Villas, closed in April for structure failure, are the only two on-campus living options that are unavailable for housing. 

“This year with the loss of the majority of University Villas and the loss of Kennedy, we’re down almost 800 bed spaces,” said Peter Blutreich, Director of Housing. “We aren’t able to meet the needs of returning students and incoming freshman class.”

GS has a policy that all freshmen must live on-campus, unless under special exemption, and Blutreich said that the university will still accommodate and hold the policy true. However, the university will not have enough space to have housing for returning students.

“We might have a few freshmen living with RAs, we don’t usually have that happen, but we might have a few in that situation,”  Blutreich said. “We might have a few in the lounge. We might need to house first year students in a hotel. We’re working on those details now. That isn’t something we want to happen, but those are things we have in place if we need to. Usually in those situations, UGA and Georgia Tech, those students are typically in a permanent assignment within days. A week or two at the most. We always have no shows, people that cancel.”

The housing department has implemented a waitlist for returning students and returning students have been notified that they’re on a housing waitlist. Returning students have been advised to find alternative housing, off-campus. 

There’s no waiting list for freshmen and not all rooms have been assigned. Blutreich said that they’re using a priority system to ensure the best housing for the earliest applicants.

“For us, it’s about the date of the application received. So for housing, we look at when you submitted an application, when did you pay the $100 deposit. Those students that committed to Georgia Southern earlier, they’ve had assignments since April,” Blutreich said. “Those students that may have been admitted but haven’t looked to secure their housing, or they have late admitted, those are the students that are in the situation. It’s all based on date application.”

Blutreich hopes that all freshmen will have a permanent living space within the first few days of the fall semester.

Update on Kennedy and University Villas

Kennedy Hall, built in 1998, and parts of University Villas, built in 1989, won’t be open for this semester, but there is planning for reopening of Kennedy.

“There has been a lot of discussion on bringing Kennedy back on line,” Blutreich said. “That seems to be, even with a largely renovated building, it would still be affordable with a nice price point for our students. Potentially it would be like moving into a brand new building that’s super conducive to the first year experience.”

Kennedy Hall is a freshman-only residence hall and the university wants to keep it that way. University Housing plans to have Kennedy renovated and livable by fall 2021.

GS is doing a study on University Villas to see if it makes financial sense to to reopen and renovate the residence hall, Blutreich said.

“We just did an inspection of Freedom’s Landing and Eagle Village,” Blutreich said. “Those were on a cycle to be inspected. When it happens a couple of times, typically they may happen in the early part of summer and then depending on the calendar, it might happen over spring break. The buildings are on a cycle to be inspected and we get a report from architects and sometimes they’ll employ some engineers to walk the property and see where we’re at.”

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Editor-In-Chief,