Many Concordia students are saddened by the closing of Fjelstad Hall to residents for the 2014-2015 school year. However, this Cobber relic remains far from off-limits.
Despite its heritage, the English Tudor-styled building will cease to house students. Reasons for this decision varies, but Concordia’s staff hopes to repurpose the building for future semesters.
Sue Oatey, Concordia vice president and dean of student affairs, said there are not enough students to justify Fjelstad’s purpose as a dorm.
An earlier issue of The Concordian covered the topic of Fjelstad’s reduction from six residential assistants to three. This change occurred due to a decrease in enrollment at Concordia.
According to Oatey, reduced enrollment is not specific to Concordia. According to her, most private colleges currently are suffering from a diminishing pool of high-school graduates to recruit from.
“There’s a lot of change going on with population in this area,” Oatey said. “[Students] are waiting until they get financial aid packages, weighing where they’re going to go [to college], how far away, and how much it’s going to cost.”
Oatey states Concordia needed to close either Fjelstad or Park Region, the other all-female dorm. Park Region contains 145 air-conditioned bed spaces, compared to Fjelstad’s 125, the fewest of any residential building on campus.
With the residential rooms closed off but unaltered, Concordia may have to prepare for an abrupt rise in tuition. This is because the same number of facilities have to be open, but less students are enrolled to pay tuition, therefore tuition may have to increase to cover the difference. Although Oatey predicts otherwise.
“Our numbers, in all probability, won’t continue to grow back up to the numbers we had, say, five years ago,” Oatey said.
Fjelstad will continue to house the Office of Student Success and Retention, as well as the Writing Enhancement Center and Concordian office. Oatey also said Concordia is working on finding new ways to utilize Frida Nilsen Lounge more often.
“We’re not going to do anything to the configuration of (Fjelstad),” Oatey said.“We’re going to try to look for ways to repurpose it.”