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Off-campus housing shortage continues

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 38 - August 22, 1996

Feedback received through the Off-Campus Housing Office and through the New River Valley Apartment Owners Council indicates that students are having greater difficulty than usual finding rooms, apartments, or homes to rent in Blacksburg.

The university is especially concerned about last-minute arrivals to the area. Traditionally, between 125 and 250 new international graduate students arrive in Blacksburg at this time. In addition, approximately 60 new non-freshmen undergraduates have accepted admission.

In response to these indications, the university has established a hotline to determine how many students are still looking for housing. Students in need of off-campus housing are urged to call the Squires Student Center Information Desk at 1-6906. Calls will be accepted through 11 p.m. tonight, August 22.

The primary purpose of the hotline is to help university officials assess the magnitude of the problem and more easily direct students to available facilities.

"While the task of locating off-campus housing is an individual responsibility," said David Nutter, associate director of University Relations, "because of the severe housing crunch, the university has tried to be a clearing house for information to help students find a place."

The university has provided extra resources to the Off-Campus Housing Office to enable it to increase its hours of operation. The housing office has placed newspaper ads asking members of the university community to consider renting out apartments, rooms, or suites. Off-campus housing coordinator Karen Frazier recently sent letters to area churches asking them to watch for housing for students.

"While the university has developed a number of contingency plans, as Spectrum goes to press, it appears that the situation in town is at a manageable level," Nutter said.

The private sector has also stepped in to meet the demand. Nutter said that the Bull House on Main Street, which recently housed the Water Center, is being converted to a rooming house.

The university also continues to post listings of available housing in the Off-Campus Housing Referral Office. Owners of rental properties, including individual rooms, are urged to contact this office at 1-3466, e-mail:vtoch@vt.edu.

Virginia Tech houses about 8,400 students in campus residence halls, making it one of the largest such operations in the country. All other students-more than 16,000-live off campus.