Freshmen living on campus this year may find that three’s a crowd, as residence halls have been tripled for the first time since 1999.
There are currently 423 students living in 141 triple rooms. Last year students were not tripled in any residence halls, though in 1999 618 freshmen lived in 206 triple rooms, Housing and Residential Services Director Wilfred Brown said.
“We had to employ triples,” Brown said, “because we didn’t want to turn new freshmen into the community without adequate housing.”
Off-campus university-affiliated residence halls filled up faster than usual this year, causing many more students to be put on a waiting list for housing. Residents are tripled in Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa halls, which have slightly larger rooms than the high-rise halls, and are easier to move furniture through, Brown said.
Fire Marshall John Kennedy said tripled rooms in those building are in accordance with the California building and fire code regulations. The Fire Dept. looked at the size of the rooms, placement of fire alarms and a student’s ability to exit safely to determine if tripled rooms would be safe.
“If you had more occupants in a space that wasn’t designed for it, it could prevent people from leaving in an orderly fashion, but we’ve determined that it is, in fact, safe [in this case],” Kennedy said.
The university is adding 800 new beds with the Manzanita Village residence hall, and Brown said once the building is completed tripling will not be a problem.
For now, tripled student can choose to move out after other rooms have vacated.
“Triples are always temporary,” Brown said.
Most students choose to stay anyway, in part because the triple saves $1,658 over the year.
“Even though it’s cramped, they usually get used to their living situation,” Brown said. “But students stay in a triple less for the money, more for the social group attachments they’ve made.”
Undeclared freshman Gabriel Dominguez said he did not mind living in a triple.
“You have to work with it,” he said. “Its been fine with me. It helps you meet people, but once we get into the year and have to work, it might get more difficult.”
Santa Cruz Resident Assistant sophomore Jewel Love said he did not have concerns about residents living in triples, but that problems could arise if it becomes a “two-versus-one” situation and two of the roommates want the other one out of the room.