Iowa State now 36,660 strong, but can the city of Ames handle it?

By Annie Harmon

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“Sometimes, there are just too many people.” Jory Martin, an outspoken Campustown real estate representative, believes Iowa State is guilty of overcrowding.

Thing is, he’s not wrong. With new numbers just released this fall, Iowa State’s student population is now 36,660 strong. The academic quality of students has also increased, with incoming freshmen earning an average 25.17 ACT Score.

So what is causing this increase in students? Iowa State President Steven Leath has been pushing record enrollment ever since he took office in 2012. But one president’s goal could not be the only reason Iowa State was growing.

“The incoming freshmen class actually hasn’t grown, we instead have an increased retention rate from the years before,” said Alyssa Ploeger, a representative from the Student Visitors Center.  ISU’s current retention rate is better than ever, at 87.67%. So where does overcrowding fit into this mix? Iowa State’s answer to dorm overpopulation is building a $47,368,576 Buchanan #2 to fit 700 beds in.

“Freshmen can now live in Buchanan #1, an apartment style residence hall, which is something we couldn’t do as freshman,” said Maddy Dahl, an Iowa State graduate and current Campustown employee. “It’s just not the same experience.”

The Memorial Union Hotel has also been turned into temporary housing to accommodate the new arrivals. The ever-vocal Campustown rep Jory Martin believes the hotel conversion to be a “disgrace on Iowa State history”.

Other Iowa State students have noticed an increase in lines on campus and fewer places to sit in the cafeterias. Martin says Campustown hasn’t seen overcrowding yet, and attributes it on the new property companies 2320 and The Foundry.

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“If the Foundry and 2320 weren’t here, I can’t even imagine what my job would be like,” said Martin, “The competition actually keeps things balanced.”

The Campustown area is growing faster than every before, with a new apartment building seemingly popping up each semester. With these new buildings, come new businesses. Fuzzy Taco, Potbelly Sandwiches, and Starbucks just to name a few. These businesses don’t come without their own setbacks, mostly being slow service due to again, overcrowding.

“I swear, every morning, there is the longest a** line at Starbucks,” said Martin. ISU coffee drinkers feel you, Jory!

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