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IU To Partner With Private Housing Operations To Accommodate Students

dorm-windows-outside.still001.jpg

IU will lose about 2,300 beds the 2019 school year as it renovates two residence halls. (WFIU/WTIU News)

Indiana University will work with privately-owned apartment properties to accommodate housing needs for returning students. The Bloomington campus will be short more than 2,000 beds next year when it shuts down two dorms for renovation.

IU was already planning to shut down and renovate McNutt and Foster residence halls.

But significant mold problems over the past few months prompted officials to move up that timeline – the dorms will now close in May.

That means about 2,300 beds are unexpectedly off the table for the 2019 school year.

IU spokesperson Chuck Carney says they’re reserving dorm rooms for incoming freshmen, so returning students will have to live elsewhere.

IU will partner with privately-owned apartment properties so those students can still apply for housing through the university.

"The housing cost options will be comparable to residence halls, they’ll be billed through bursar accounts, there won’t be any extra fees that you might have if you just booked an apartment on your own," he says, adding that all of the units will be near a shuttle or bus route to make access to campus easy. 

Carney says they hope to be able to accommodate all new and returning students through these partnerships. He says it's not yet clear whether these agreements will cost the university any money. 

"What we're most interested in is trying to make this as good an experience for the students as possible," he says. "So, we'll worry about the cost as it comes." 

IU has welcomed a record number of first-year students for six of the past seven academic years. 

University officials will not reduce the number of students accepted next year due to housing, Carney says. 

McNutt and Foster are expected to reopen by 2020, and Carney says capacity issues should be resolved then. 

Carney declined to estimate how much IU has spent on mold remediation so far, and he says the costs are still coming in as work continues through the spring semester. 

"It will cost what it costs," Carney says. "While we know it's not going to be cheap, we know we have to do what needs to be done and that's part of the reason we've accelerated the renovation of McNutt and Foster." 

The mold problems in the two dorms sparked more than 1,700 remediations so far, and IU reimbursed students living in the buildings with a $3,000 Bursar credit. 

IU also faces a class action lawsuit from seven freshmen students that alleges it didn't do enough to address the mold. The lawsuit says IU has been misleading in its communications about the mold. 

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