Freshman Tatum Hipp has been settling into his room at Kirby Smith Hall for about two weeks.

Hipp and approximately 40 other students who applied to LSU in summer 2019 have been temporarily housed at the soon-to-be demolished residence hall.

“I mean, there’s like nobody around…like ever,” Hipp said.  “It’s kind of like a ghost town.”

Kirby Smith Hall was scheduled to be vacant this fall as a part of LSU’s master plan for remodeling.  However, an influx of students caused the building to remain open but only on the first three floors.

Hipp says as an out-of-state student, it has been difficult for him to meet new people in Kirby.

“At first it was kind of iffy because you know on welcome week you come, you go to your dorm and everyone’s there with signs and stuff all cheering saying ‘hey, welcome to LSU,’” Hipp said.  “Kirby was like ‘hello? anybody home?’”

Residential Life’s policy is that all students live on campus their freshman year, unless they qualify for an exemption.  Res Life Associate Director of Communications and Development Catherine David says the demolition of res halls is a fluid process that is dependent upon admissions numbers.

“As enrollment projections change or grow, we have to be ready to address those,” David said.  “Just like we used Kirby Smith this year as an overflow option, we have a backup plan depending on what those projections are.”

Another change to Residential Life this year is residential college housing.  Residential colleges are not 100 percent major specific, and classes aren’t necessarily held in the res hall as promoted.

Mass communication major Janaya Longo says very few people in South Hall are mass communication majors.

“I was surprised when I found out my roommate was an animal science major,” Longo said.  “I was like ‘how did you get into South Hall? like that doesn’t make any sense.’ So it was kind of surprising when everyone I hang out with is not [my} major, but I’ve kind of adjusted to it.”

Students living in the res colleges do have to pay for the expense, even if it wasn’t their first choice.  David says no bed will go unfilled and as vacancies become available, they will continue to move students.

“Residential life is here to serve students.  It’s the best option for first-year students, and that’s why we have that first-year residency requirement.”

Students living in Kirby Smith will begin moving to their new housing assignments this weekend. 

As for Hipp, he’s moving to a new location on campus and is looking forward to more permanent housing.