According to WCU census information from 2016 and 2017, the residence is normally underused at full capacity. SAM Miller, VICE CHANCELLOR of WCU, said our on-campus housing capacity is 4,452 beds this year, including the last residence, Noble. At the beginning of the last semester, there was an occupancy rate of 96.24% for these rooms, and that semester it fell to 88.77%. Miller explained that the spring semester generally had a lower utilization rate than the fall semester. This contract is intended to provide accommodation for students taking the courses. This contract is not considered a lease and is not date specific. The relationship between WCU and the residents is purely contractual and is not considered a tenant owner. “Previous residency agreements have not provided information on refunds, including those implemented during the spring semester of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bill Studenc, a spokesman for WCU. “After the end of the spring semester and learning about the complicated factors around COVID-19, we realized that we needed to change the 2020-21 residency agreement to tackle the problem.” For policies specific to university residences, please visit their website or read the lease. After the end of the spring semester and learning about the complexing factors around COVID-19, the need to change the 2020-2021 residency agreement has become obvious.
Universities across North Carolina are updating their housing agreements, and Western Carolina University is no different. Residents acknowledge that in the event of a temporary closure, restrictions and/or adjustments to the schedule of housing services, the ACU is not required to provide a partial refund or credit for such interruptions or adjustments. In the event that the CSE requires the resident to evacuate the university apartment, it is the responsibility of the occupant to remove all valuable personal items at that time. WCU is currently finalizing a plan to renovate and replace dormitories on campus, build a 600-bed dormitory on the upper campus, and then demolish and replace two aging dormitories, Scott and Walker. However, Scott and Walker`s replacement will have fewer beds than existing buildings, meaning that at the end of the renovation and replacement plan, WCU will not have more beds than it currently does. Given these on-campus plans and the residential projects planned by private developers off campus, WCU concluded that there would be a “fairly significant bed deficit” in the Cullowhee area if it did not move forward with the Millennial campus project.