Carbondale Prepares for SIU Students

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By Amy Fox
By Joe Carr

CARBONDALE --  In just a week, thousands of students will be back on campus at SIU for fall classes. Right now, there's a lot of work going on at dorms and apartments around town, getting the buildings ready for new residents.

As soon as SIU students moved out in May, preparations for the next school year were already underway. Landlords and the SIU Student Housing Department have been working all summer to clean and update properties. With just a week left, there's still much to be done, and little time.

Signs throughout Carbondale send the message, it's back to school time. Students are on the hunt for housing.

"The one bedrooms are very much in demand, but we still have some two bedrooms," said Loretta Cooley,  Wedgewood Hills Apartments Owner.

Leases are being signed and keys are being distributed.

Cooley said, "Every year, we don't think we will make it another August, but we do."

But, there's a lot more going on behind the scenes. Cooley says it takes anywhere from 5 hours to 2 days to get an apartment ready for a new tenant.

"We make sure they are all cleaned and make sure all of the light bulbs are in, carpets are professionally cleaned, and the guys come in and wash the windows inside and out, all the touch up paint and re-paint if needed, and get it ready like it's brand new for someone else to move into," said Cooley.
  
Just down the street at SIU, crews have been working around the clock to get the university's housing ready for students.

While upperclassman often choose to live off campus, freshmen are required to live on campus for at least one year. 


SIU Custodial Operations Supervisor Scott Taylor said, "We've cleaned rooms, we've bought 800 new mattresses, we've taken all the air conditioners out of rooms, painted whole buildings, I mean top to bottom cleaning and a lot of renovations."

Approximately 4,500 SIU students live in university residence halls or apartments. But, SIU is above capacity again this year, so housing will be tight.

"Anyone who comes late in the game or anyone who comes to campus and needs housing will be placed in temporary over-sized space," said Crystal Bouhl, SIU Assistant Marketing Director.

Some double rooms will house three students. Typically, as students begin to shuffle during the fall semester, space is freed up.

But, in the meantime, the custodial staff will continue to put the finishing touches on each room.

New SIU students will move in on August 14 and 15. Returning students are expected on August 16.

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