UA Feels Growing Pains as Expansion Continues

Kris Johnson

With a student population nearing 25,000, the University of Arkansas is expanding through several construction projects on campus to keep up with the growth. This has led to some growing pains.

According to the UA Facilities Management website, there are currently 12 construction projects on campus. Among these are six new buildings, four additions to current structures and two renovations.

The amount of construction in combination with record growth has made campus feel crowded, Suzanne McCray, Vice-Provost of Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions said.

According to the Facilities Management website Founder’s Hall and Vol Walker Hall are scheduled to open in Fall 2013.  Campus will open up after these projects are completed next October, McCray said.

The UA’s target population is 28,000 with the facilities that are under construction, McCray said. This is up from the last population target of 25,000, which the university is 30 students short of, as of Fall 2012 enrollment.

The university needs to make sure that it has enough living space and classrooms to meet demand and those issues are being worked on, McCray said. The amount of faculty needed for a larger student population is a concern, McCray said. The UA is trying to maintain the 18 to 1 student to teacher ratio.

The record enrollment is due to a large freshmen class of 4,500 students and increasing retention rates, McCray said. The university has no plans to ban freshmen cars on campus, as other universities have to combat traffic and parking problems that come from growth.

“I think all of the issues that we knew could be problematic we’ve looked at and worked hard toward,” McCray said. “We’re trying to anticipate as much as possible.”

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