Sitting outside of the student center Monday afternoon, Shaquala Caldwell took stock of her new surroundings.
The 19-year-old sophomore was one of many thousands of students who began the 2012-13 school year at Texas Woman’s University.
“It’s my first time on this campus, so I am trying to see where everything is,” Caldwell said. She transferred from Southeastern State University in Durant, Okla., to study kinesiology at TWU.
“It’s a lot busier and a lot more people,” she said of Denton and the campus.
Besides being a transfer student, Caldwell has another distinction: She is one of many students who are currently living in a hotel rather than in a dormitory due to TWU’s housing shortage.
“The bed’s bigger, but it’s kind of disconnected because you’re not on campus,” she said.
TWU recently leased about 100 rooms at the Quality Inn & Suites on Dallas Drive for student housing.
Caldwell said she can either drive to campus or take a shuttle offered by the hotel.
She said resident assistants have said students will move from the hotel to the dorms as soon as possible, but based on e-mails from the university, she believes students could be there all semester.
Richard Nicholas, TWU vice president of student life, said that when vacancies open up due to students not showing up or dropping out at the last minute, students are quickly moved into the dorm rooms.
“Some of that has already happened and more will continue as this week goes on,” he said.
Nicholas said some of the things that are factored into who gets moved are freshman versus returning students.
On a plus side, while it’s too early to have enrollment numbers, Nicholas said the number registered so far is well ahead of last fall. Last fall enrollment topped 14,700 at TWU’s campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston.
“At this point they change every day, if not hourly,” he said. “We have projected an enrollment increase this fall and it certainly appears this will happen.”
Nicholas also said campus officials have been sending notices out to students about West Nile virus precautions.
“We sent a campuswide notice right before everyone started arriving about what the situation was, and then on campus we have been monitoring standing water and we have some ponds here we have been treating,” he said.
During a recent outdoor event, Nicholas said, officials were handing out insect repellent sprays and wipes to people.
“We made an abundant effort so people can make their own choice about those things,” he said.
Enrollment is also up at North Central Texas College.
NCTC spokesman Darin Allred said numbers exceeded 10,000 as of Monday morning.
The Corinth campus has nearly 6,000 students. The college’s Flower Mound campus, which opened in the spring of 2011, has more than 1,600 students, up from about 1,300 last fall. The Gainesville campus has about 2,400 students.
“That will fluctuate in the next couple of days, as kids drop classes and late registration. But if we stay there whenever the final numbers are done, that would be the first time systemwide,” Allred said. “Last year we had some drop and ended up below that number. [Officials] were thinking we possibly could get there this year for the first time but they didn’t know if they’d be able to sustain it the first two weeks.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .