At the beginning of November, students received an email from Residence Life about changes to housing next year. Residence Life said, “Hill-Kitt will be offline for 2024-25 academic years. Mohn Hall will be all First-Year students for the 2024-25 academic year.” This is the only information students were given, causing questions to be raised as to whether there will be enough housing for the student body.
According to Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer Mike Berthelsen, Hilleboe-Kittelsby has been the top priority for St. Olaf College due to the building’s poor conditions. In an email interview with The Olaf Messenger, Berthelsen said, “The scale of needed renovations exceeds what can be accomplished in the summer and will need a full 12-14 months to complete.”
Berthelsen also noted that this is a 24 million dollar project. The plan will include new updates to the infrastructure of the building, the installation of air conditioning, and upgrades to the lounges and common areas. “Students should expect some increase [in tuition] due to increases in the overall costs of the college (salaries, benefits, utilities, etc.)” said Berthelsen in an email interview. “But they are not being adjusted specifically due to the renovation of Hilleboe and Kittlesby.”
Many students on campus have expressed frustration and confusion about this housing decision. One student, Nathan Sandoval ’25, shared that they are anticipating to see the same issues from the 2023-2024 housing selection to occur during the 2024-2025 housing selection. A previous resident of Hilleboe-Kittelsby, Grace Linquist ’26, believes that the new renovations will be a good thing and make living there nicer. Both Sandoval and Linquist see housing becoming more competitive for upperclassmen, and they hope Residence Life will become less strict with off-campus housing.
Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life Christopher Medley assures that Residence Life will respond quickly to any problems that occur during the 2024-2025 housing selection with support of the software team. “There may be more requests approved than the previous year by Residential Life with the changes in the college exemptions for 2024-2025,” said Medley in an email interview with The Olaf Messenger in regards to future off-campus housing.
With the changes to housing for the upcoming academic year, students can anticipate a competitive housing selection process in spring 2024 with potentially more opportunities to apply for off-campus housing.