Campus growth causes problems


Graphic by: Tiera Rivers

University struggles to keep up with the increasing amount of students.

Coastal Carolina University faculty members gathered for the University Convocation on Jan.5 to discuss the retention rate and information regarding the future of the University.

Undergraduate enrollment is up 1.6% from last year, according to Associate Provost Amanda Craddock. Additionally, the 2023 first semester retention rate for freshmen is 90.4%, compared to last year’s first semester retention rate which was 89.8%.

“We are very positive with our undergraduate student enrollment as well as overall student enrollment,” Craddock said.

Much of the growth has to do with the two large freshmen classes from 2021 and 2022. The largest freshman class with 2,653 students came onto campus in the fall of 2022, The Chanticleer reported last semester. Current students are choosing to stay at CCU, therefore increasing University growth.

“A large number [of freshmen students]returning this spring and those who are going to be coming back for their fourth semester as sophomores,” she said.

While University officials speak highly of the growth, it comes along with some consequences. Many students, mostly freshmen and sophomores, stay at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel due to lack of dorm rooms.

Junior Ellie Simpson said she knows of people who stay at Four Points and could not imagine what it would be like.

“I have some friends that live in the hotel that they put people in,” Simpson said. “That is absolutely crazy to me.”

Along with the student housing issue, students say parking remains an issue on campus. Senior Drew Drumheller said there are not enough parking spots for faculty, staff and students, especially when there are campus-wide events such as Organizational Kickoff Day.

“When campus holds events like OK Day and food fairs out on Prince Lawn, you really can’t find any parking,” Drumheller said.

To find solutions of their own, students who live on South Carolina Highway 544 keep their cars parked near their apartment, so they do not have to worry about finding an open spot on campus. The apartment complexes on Hwy 544 include The Ascent, The Arch and The Pier.

“I live across 544 so I can walk,” Simpson said. “I purposely lived there for that reason.”

Although new projects for CCU such as the building of the new Thompson Library reflect the positives of the growth, students are waiting for issues to be resolved. If retention rates continue to grow, limited space poses a threat.