VCU converts student lounges into temporary dorm rooms in newest residence hall

Virginia Commonwealth University's Gladding Residence Center opened to students last year. (Sarah Vogelsong/The Virginia Mercury)

Thanks to an increased interest in on-campus housing, 20 first-year students at Virginia Commonwealth University will live in converted spaces in the university’s newest dorm.

Photos of student lounges with dorm beds and other furniture in VCU’s Gladding Residence Center began circulating Twitter on Monday.

University spokesperson Mike Porter confirmed that the school’s housing department worked with American Campus Communities (the private real estate company that rebuilt the dorm) to convert some lounges into temporary rooms.

“The temporary spaces will have similar amenities as other students living on campus,” Porter said in an email. “Those students will be notified when a permanent room becomes available. These students assigned to these spaces received information about the room being a temporary room assignment prior to accepting the assignment.”

Because of that, Porter said, those students in the makeshift dorm rooms will pay a traditional housing rate (the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia reports room and board at VCU is about $10,800 a year).

VCU opened the $96 million GRC last summer, adding about 600 beds to the school’s Monroe Park Campus. It was luxurious for a dorm building, with a small gym, rooms dedicated to movie viewing, a lobby with games and several lounges residents could use for studying.

American Campus Communities owns several off-campus student apartments on the outskirts of VCU’s campus, but students will not be relocated there, Porter said.

“There can be some housing openings late in the process if students who have been accepted to VCU and provided with housing in a residence hall ultimately decide not to come,” Porter said. “We won’t have a feel for that until after Move-In is complete.”

Students will get an update by Sept. 6, Porter said.

While VCU’s temporary dorms are because of an increase in students seeking on-campus housing, Virginia Tech had to get similarly creative with housing because of an overall increase in freshman enrollment.

Tech is expecting 1,000 more students to arrive on campus this month than what officials projected. The unexpected influx means some freshmen will be living in a nearby hotel instead of a traditional dorm.

Updated Aug. 13, 2019, 3:40 p.m. with information from VCU