Currently, our Troy campus consists of 7,864 enrolled students, but Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. stated that our university will hopefully have reached 10,000 students in enrollment in a matter of approximately five to seven years. That is the goal of Troy’s recent project, “Road to 10,000.”
“The benefits are many, including a stronger, more vibrant student population, and the extra tuition revenue to fund more campus improvements,” Hawkins said. “We have the most qualified faculty and the strongest student body in our history, not to mention the most beautiful campus in Alabama, so Troy obviously has a lot to offer.”
Plans are underway that will implement changes to prompt the entrance of 2,136 more students. In terms of campus activities, “the implementation of additional academic programs and the rebranding of existing programs will play a major role in our drive to 10,000 students,” Hawkins said. “Of course, continuing to add amenities such as the new student recreation center will enable us to attract even more students.”
Some concerns current students have consist of the ability to house freshmen and Millennium Scholars on campus, having a larger student-to-teacher ratio in classes and limited parking.
Hawkins has addressed these issues. “We will have to take a hard look at utilization of classroom space, including offering classes later in the day to maintain the small student-to-teacher ratios.”
A parking deck is out of the question for now at the Troy campus. “A parking deck costs about $25,000 per parking space, while a space in a traditional paved lot costs about $6,000. We would have to experience phenomenal enrollment growth before we would even consider a parking deck.”
The numbers, for now, just don’t add up. However, Hawkins assured us: “We do have plans to increase the number of parking spaces.”
Currently we are able to house 2,342 students on campus; this includes sorority and fraternity housing and excludes married housing. In order to achieve a goal of 10,000 students, more housing must be provided.
“We are already considering the construction of a new residence hall in response to the tremendous demand for on-campus housing,” Hawkins said. “We believe a new residence hall, plus an increase of private housing units near campus, will satisfy the demand.
Julia Orcutt, a junior biomedical sciences major from Helena, expressed her concerns with the 10,000-student goal. “I do not want that to happen at all. I picked Troy because it was smaller. I don’t want to go to a big school,” Orcutt said. “I don’t see very many benefits to it from a student’s perspective.”
In terms of class sizes, general studies courses would be larger with the addition of more students.
Orcutt is worried for freshman students because larger class sizes would mean impeded work. “It would really affect their college experience,” Orcutt said. “They wouldn’t get to know their professors; they wouldn’t be able to build those relationships that are so important.”
An advantage, Orcutt pointed out, would be an improvement to her department. “They might fix the labs because there is more tuition coming in,” Orcutt said.
Caitlyn Pope, a junior music education major from Bonaire, Georgia, was also hesitant about incoming numbers. According to Pope, the food options were a concern. “There are not enough food options. You go expecting a quick meal, but you’re there for about 45 minutes waiting in one line.”
Pope was also concerned about people “falling behind” in their classes due to an increased general studies course population and worried that the “one-on-one” teacher relationship would be in jeopardy.
Pope said that Troy will highlight the Sound of the South band program as a method to obtain more students. “The band program got me here, so the band program will be advertised heavily.”
Personally, I believe having a larger population of students would be beneficial long term for our university. Troy has to implement the changes Chancellor Hawkins mentioned in order to achieve its goal of 10,000 enrolled students on the Troy campus, so we should see positive changes to campus amenities in the near future.
We can enjoy our smaller population for now and embrace the new when the time comes.