MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WOOD) — Central Michigan University announced Thursday it will not be using three dorms on the north campus next school year.
Larzelere, Calkins and Trout Halls will be temporarily closed, and three other dorms will return to normal capacity.
The closures come as the university reorganizes housing after CMU spread out students because of the pandemic. Maintenance will be completed while the dorms are idled.
Wheeler Hall will return to regular capacity, a remodeled Troutman Hall will open this fall, and Kulhavi Hall will be brought back into use. Robinson will be used for graduate students.
The room capacity will not be needed in the 2022 to 2023 academic year because of a decline in enrollment.
CMU undergraduate enrollment dropped just over 12% between the fall of 2020 and the fall of 2021. There were 45% fewer undergraduate students attending the university in the fall of 2021 compared with the fall of 2012.
Brooke Essenberg, a freshman attending CMU, was surprised by the announcement. She had planned to return to Larzelere but will now be moving to south campus.
“Everyone had already filled out residents’ applications a couple weeks ago and so that’s frustrating,” Essenberg said.
The dorm she in living in is well below capacity.
“The top floor of Larzelere isn’t being used and then because of COVID protocols there are only three students in rooms that there were normally four students in, in previous years,” Essenberg said.
Railey Amoss, a sophomore at CMU, says the rooms will eventually be needed.
“I think it’s temporary. I think the dorm hall situation is a good step into seeing how everything will play out,” Amoss said.
The university says consolidating students will help with cost and the student experience by placing them closer to dining halls and other services with better hours.
CMU administrators were not available to speak on camera with News 8.
The university says it has a plan in place to attract more students, but population trends are making that more difficult for all universities as low birth rates 18 years ago are now having an impact on the number of potential college students.
Sophomore Griffin Fisher is not convinced the trend will change in the near future.
“I think they do have a plan but from what I’ve seen from the past two years of being here I’d like to see that plan work but … I’m fairly doubtful,” Fisher said.
Some students may have taken a year off because of the pandemic, went directly into the workforce, decided to stay closer to home or attend community college.
With all those choices, Amoss is seeing more of a focus on student needs and universities working to be more flexible.
“I think it is going to be better, especially if they’re continuing to listen and actually implement the things that we want,” Amoss said.