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Running out of rooms: Washington State University’s largest freshman class leaves more than 200 students in need of housing

In this photo taken Aug. 17, 2011, freshmen climb down from the sculpture of the Washington State University mascot, Butch, during a walking-tour of the campus in Pullman, Wash., which is for all freshmen and transfer students. (Alan Berner / Associated Press)
In this photo taken Aug. 17, 2011, freshmen climb down from the sculpture of the Washington State University mascot, Butch, during a walking-tour of the campus in Pullman, Wash., which is for all freshmen and transfer students. (Alan Berner / Associated Press)

With more than 4,300 freshman students set to swarm Washington State University’s residence halls in just one week, university officials say they are still looking to provide a couple hundred students a place to sleep come Aug. 15 – WSU’s official move-in day.

WSU Vice President of Marketing and Communications Phil Weiler said the university is expecting its largest influx of freshman students in its 128-year history, forcing the university to find extra bed space anywhere possible.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Weiler said 237 students are still on the university waitlist to find a space on campus.

“We’re literally counting beds,” he said.

To meet the need, the university has reopened Waller Hall – a dormitory that was closed in 2015 – to accommodate incoming freshman men.

Weiler said for women, the university will be converting single-student rooms in Orton Hall to house two students, noting rooms in Orton Hall were originally designed to accommodate two students.

Weiler said other rooms in certain residence halls have been upped from two students to three.

About 135 freshmen, primarily women, are expected to be placed in three-student rooms.

Weiler said the students had to volunteer to be placed in a three-student room and will receive a 25 percent discount on their housing fees.

Other students will reside in the same room as residence advisers, who in past years have had their own rooms.

Currently, 15 of the university’s 95 residence advisers have been assigned a roommate, Weiler said, but that number is likely to increase.

Weiler said sophomore, junior and senior students hoping to stay in on-campus housing were put on a waitlist at the beginning of the summer, and it is unlikely the majority of the 237 students still on the waitlist will find on-campus housing.

Weiler said sophomores, juniors and seniors who need to seek alternative off-campus housing will receive an email early next week.

He said there is a chance some space will open up if incoming freshman do not complete WSU’s Alive! orientation course, which is required.

The deadline to complete Alive! is Saturday.

While still an older dormitory, Waller Hall will have all new beds, carpeted floors and fresh paint, Weiler said.