For the first time, the University of Wisconsin-owned Eagle Heights Apartments will be open to undergraduate students  at the start of the 2020-2021 academic calendar year.

The Eagle Heights apartment complex, located on the 80 route past the Lakeshore residence hall area, is home to 1,050 apartments. Ninety-nine of these apartments will be sectioned off as a new sub-complex called The 100s at Eagle Heights.

Historically, Eagle Heights has been exclusively available to graduate students, PhD researchers and students with families, as well as academic faculty. The 951 apartments not included in The 100s will still be offered to this same group, but the 99 remaining apartments will now be offered to non-freshman undergraduates, transfer students and international students.

Director of University Housing Jeffrey Novak said the change will not affect any current residents of The 100s or future residents of the Eagle Heights apartments that are not apart of The 100s.

“Residents currently living in The 100s were notified before signing this year’s lease and will be offered apartments in other units of Eagle Heights for next year if they choose to stay in the community,” Novak said.

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Novak expects The 100s to be a suitable choice for many non-freshman undergraduate students because it provides the convenience of being billed through University Housing at comparable prices to those of other housing options, as well as an option that still includes university resources and support services.

Part of the change comes from the need to accommodate the growth in undergraduate enrollment at UW.

“This is a temporary change to manage growth in UW-Madison’s undergraduate enrollment and increasing demand,” Novak said. “By using this space to offer new options to returning non-freshmen, it allows us to accommodate more first-year students in the residence halls.”

As of now, if returning non-freshman students want to live with University Housing, their options are typically limited to residence halls. While some students want to specifically live in a dorm again, others have no preference but simply take what University Housing has to offer out of convenience.

UW sophomore Nikki Kehoe is one of those students.

“As a STEM major, I am very busy pretty much always, and last year I remember that come October, and everyone was starting to think of where they were going to live the next year,” Kehoe said. “October-November is midterm season! I didn’t have time to try to quickly find something that was in a good location and that was somewhat similar to what my parents were paying for my dorms, so I just decided to go through University Housing again, and I ended up in Dejope.”

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Novak and his team’s main goal is to have alternative options for students like Kehoe. The 100s offer an alternative closer to off-campus living with the convenience of being organized through the university.

Novak said that the university hopes to offer some other on-campus options for students who want to stay in University Housing to make sure they have enough space for freshmen.

Novak said this is just one option to temporarily fix the problem of not having enough space for freshmen. The university sees the need to find more solutions so that it can sustain its growth, but at the moment, this is just one temporary solution that the housing team has come up with.

In the last three classes, the class sizes have increased by several hundred students in response to about a 3% increase in the number of applicants. The class of 2021 had a class size of 6,610 students. The class of 2022 had a class size of 6,862 students, and this year’s newest class of 2023’s class size is 7,550 students. If UW continues to get more interest and applicants, the housing team will have to look into more options beyond The 100s to ensure the larger freshman class sizes can be accommodated.

“University Housing is exploring the best long-term options for managing this growth, but no plans for new construction have been made beyond the added floors on Witte and Sellery,” Novak said.