Her first night at Elon, junior Kelsey Eshleman was invited by members of Elon Young Life to a bonfire event at an off-campus house, affectionately nicknamed Full House. That night, Eshleman said she remembered thinking how cool it would be to live there with her newfound friends. Now, Eshleman is still close with many students she met her first night and is one of five people living in Full House. 

But after living in the house for this past year and signing her lease renewal for next academic year, Eshleman and her roommates received a message from their landlord in February — the house that had been a pass down in Elon’s Christian community for 15 years was no longer available to rent. 

Full House is the most recent purchase on East Haggard Avenue by Elon University following three properties the road purchased by the university in 2022. 

Between 2000 and 2020, Elon has tripled in size of occupied space, Brad Moore, associate vice president for facilities and chief facilities officer, said. In 2000, Elon was about 1 million square feet, rising to 3 million square feet by 2020. One area of growth indicated in the master plan is a continued increase in residential dorms. This is to follow the continued and expected growth of Elon’s student body, Moore said. 

“We are purchasing properties that are contiguous to our campus, just for the potential to grow campus in that area as needed and it could be academic, could be residential,” Moore said. “As we continue to track that 64%, at least maintaining that, increasing that, of course, some of the development would have to be residential.” 

The amount of properties Elon has purchased has continued to increase, according to data from Alamance County’s real estate system. 

Each year, Elon’s incoming class grows by about 25 to 50 new students, and in a larger year, the university may add about 100 new students, Moore said. Elon plans to add beds in phases to accommodate the growth of the student body and to maintain having 64% of students living on campus. 

This summer, construction on East Commons will be complete, renovations on McMichael Science Building, the Francis Center and Hook, Brannock and Barney Historic dorms will continue and the HealthEU Wellness Center will break ground this fall. 

“We knew that we would be adding beds throughout the next several years, maybe in phases building, maybe 300 one year and then waiting a couple of years and building another 300 or so, primarily geared toward our first and second year students,” Moore said. 

As a part of expansions under construction now to the East Neighborhood, about 90 student beds are being added, along with an apartment for faculty in residence, a graduate apprentice and five residence life apartments. There’s also going to be a large multipurpose classroom gathering space. These additional student beds and amenities were designed to help make East more of a full neighborhood, Moore said, as currently it has 300 beds, whereas other campus neighborhoods have 500 to 600 student beds, and other amenities. 

On the master plan, Elon details a few locations where focus residential neighborhoods may be designed, yet there is no timeline yet for these projects and the locations are not exact, Moore said. One possible location is south of the upcoming wellness center, which is directly south of Colonnades B. Another possibility is east of Lake Verona, by the Danieley Center. 

The university also does not have a finalized plan for all of the properties acquired on East Haggard Avenue, Owen Covington, university spokesman, said in a statement to Elon News Network. 

“As it has throughout its history, Elon University periodically makes strategic purchases of properties to support its mission. Specific plans for these properties have not been finalized at this time,” Covington wrote. 

Elon Junior Grace Richey, who was planning to live in Full House for her senior year, said she was disappointed by the purchase and also the timing of it. 

Avery Sloan | Elon News Network
The residents at 606 East Haggard Avenue have a door in their house, signed by former residents and anyone who has visited the house.

“Definitely hard for it to come out of nowhere, housing wise and just community wise,” Richey said. “We were like, ‘you couldn’t have told us earlier in the year or when we signed the lease?’” 

Eshleman and Richey were able to find housing at an Elon Place apartment, along with two of their other friends who had planned to live in Full House. 

Elon Residence Life declined to comment and Kirsten Carrier, director of residence life, wrote in a statement to Elon News Network that as their main mission is to support Elon students looking to live on campus, the only resource they provide is their website with links to addresses of apartments, an off-campus housing guide and a resources for lease-turnovers. 

Eshleman and Richey were able to find housing at an Elon Place apartment, along with two of their other friends who had planned to live in Full House. Eshleman said while they were able to find housing relatively close to campus, it is more the community space she is sad to part with. 

“It’s very well loved,” Eshleman said. “It’s just very sad for our community and we were supposed to live here next year. We just really all of a sudden, had nowhere to live.”