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Changes on the way: DSU plans to close Selke Hall and rearrange offices on campus for the fall semester

Dickinson State University is going to look different when students arrive back to campus this fall. Most notably, Selke Hall will be closed as a campus housing option and DeLong Hall will be the only operable residence hall on campus while Woods...

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Selke Hall will be closed as a residence hall after this semester. Students have posted "Save Selke" posters in the windows of the building. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

Dickinson State University is going to look different when students arrive back to campus this fall.

Most notably, Selke Hall will be closed as a campus housing option and DeLong Hall will be the only operable residence hall on campus while Woods Hall undergoes renovation.

DSU President Thomas Mitzel said Selke is being closed as a residence hall because it is no longer economical as student housing.

"We're probably going to lose $100,000 on its operation alone this year," he said. "It cost much more to run it than it brings in."

All students will be housed in DeLong for the next year as Woods Hall completes its remodel.

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Some students are not too pleased with the thought of Selke no longer being a place to call home. Signs have been appearing in the windows reading "Save Selke" and one reading "Open Since '61 Why Stop?"

Mitzel said he felt the low occupancy rates in the residence housing didn't enhance campus living.

"I don't think students have as good of an experience if they are in a half-empty residence hall," he said. "Put them together. Let them have some fun. Have some programming. We can enhance programming for them while they are there and hopefully show them a good time."

The Resident Life and Housing Office reported last month that DeLong had a 61 percent occupancy and Selke sat at 41 percent occupancy.

Mitzel said he felt transitioning Selke to an academic building fit the flow of the "inner horseshoe" of campus, which includes Klinefelter Hall, Stickney Hall, May Hall, Stoxen Library, Selke Hall and the student center. He said keeping the academic buildings separate from the residence halls on the "outer horseshoe" will enhance the student experience by giving students space.

The South Campus Art building will be closed after this semester because of budget concerns. Mitzel said they do not plan to keep the building vacant for long and have interested renters and buyers.

Selke Hall will be converted into an academic building in the future with the potential for the arts department to occupy part of the building along with departments that need overflow space.

A few subtle changes have already been occurring on campus, which Mitzel said is all about enhancing the student experience.

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A group of student senate members met with him early in 2016 to discuss their ideas for the Student Center.

He said from those discussions three main concepts have remained at the forefront: creating a student service center, creating a student academic support center and to create a student welcome center.

Campus security has already moved from Stickney Hall to the Student Center, which has afforded them the option of keeping a better eye on the Student Center and keeping it open later.

Jack Shulz, director of security and emergency management, said the move has been working well.

"We're a lot busier," he said. "One of the the things we've been doing with our student workers, I've been keeping them in the window and (last weekend) we kept the student center open until midnight. People are down there playing pool, ping pong and watching TV."

Other future projects include moving the University Store to the current game room at the front of the Student Center, so students and families can see what "spirit gear" they can buy from the window.

Mitzel said they will also be reevaluating the sale of books, looking perhaps to move toward a more online-based system where students can buy their books without physically visiting the campus bookstore. Books can then be shipped to students directly or for pickup at the university store instead of students having to wait for classes to begin to buy their textbooks.

The store would then connect to a convenience store or "one-stop shop" where students can buy their snacks and venture down the hallway to a lounge area outside of the ballroom.

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The area would have high top seating with charging stations and television access.

Mitzel said they are still trying to decide what to do with one of the two ballroom spaces and are looking at different choices that fit student needs.

Downstairs, the previous fitness center would be converted into a game room, lounge area or a movie theater for students.

Not only will the Student Center have some changes this fall, but May Hall will see a shift in some academic offices.

All of the academic support offices will be located on the second floor of May Hall, which would include TRiO and tutoring offices.

Housing and Dining Services will move their offices to May Hall to be located next to Business Affairs and Financial Aid on the first floor.

Mitzel said it would be a one-stop area for students to get everything they need and get 80 percent of their questions answered.

"So if you're a parent or a student coming onto campus, and you're looking for what you need to do, right now we're a little bit split up," he said. "Some of our offices are on the first floor, second floor, some are down at the student center. We're trying to bring them together, so when you come in, you would only have to go to one place."

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