Dorm rooms scarce at Alabama A&M University

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It's not uncommon to see a motel put out the "No Vacancy" sign, but not so often seen an institution of higher education.

That's the situation at Alabama A&M University. The school is in a crunch for on-campus housing, with too many students and too little space.

You don't have to be in physics class to figure that out, but it may take some serious thinking to solve the problem just days a way from the start of school.

"The Hill" at Alabama A&M can house roughly 2,300 students, said Jerome Saintjones, head of public relations for the university.

"Usually when a university says something about a housing crunch, it's pretty much a good thing," said Saintjones.

With classes starting August 17 and students settling in much sooner, school leaders want to keep hundreds from living with-out an on-campus home.

Saintjones says three dorms are currently closed for renovation, and problems loom because of deferred maintenance costs across the state. A lack of rooms isn't the only issue.

"I think it's just over-all economics," said Saintjones.

He says more students are choosing to stay in the dorms, where they don't have to drive, they're close to class, and they can eat at the cafeteria. Throw in not fighting for a parking spot, and you have a much cheaper, more convenient life-style in a tough economy.

So the question lingers - is there an extra dorm room on-campus?

Sadly, said Saintjones, the answer this go-around is most likely a sorrowful, sorry.

Saintjones says there's a lesson to be learned here, especially for upperclassmen - get your housing situation taken care in the spring to ensure yourself a room in the fall.

For now, staffers are ready to re-inspect some of those dorms that are closed for maintenance reasons, to see if they can be used as soon as possible.

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