Residence Life will offer relocations

Bridget Tharp and Bridget Tharp

Local apartments will be rented to on-campus students and incoming freshman as a “new housing opportunity” fall semester. The University has an agreement with Greenbriar, Inc. to rent two buildings of Columbia Court Apartments at 903-937 Thurstin Avenue; part of the Heinz Apartments at 808 ‘ 818 N. Enterprise; and one building at 516 E. Merry Street from Greenbriar, Inc.

Residence Life administrators scrambled to find temporary additional housing because a higher student retention and greater number of incoming freshman created a shortage of livable space.

“We’re not sure if this enrollment will sustain itself long term or not. The apartments are only going to be leased this year,” Marketing Director Fred Connor said.

Greenbriar will provide space for more than 200 resident students in furnished apartments for four or six students. Freshmen may apply if they have earned at least 25 credit hours. Resident students will pay the University $1,820 per semester, but will not be charged a technology fee because there will be no on-site computer labs. The University will add high-speed internet service, cable television and desks to all units.

Over 400 students have applied to transfer their on-campus housing reservations to the new housing locations. Any students who were denied these apartments spots will maintain their original reservation.

“It’s actually a double winning situation for the University,” Connor said.

“Many students were eager to get into these apartments, and that opens space for incoming freshman so they can get the on-campus residence life experience.”

The University requested blocks of rooms together, but Greenbriar had already rented some of the units. Greenbriar office manager Pat Naurer called all tenants and told them that the University would be housing mostly freshmen in the empty units. Most apartment renters are upperclassmen.

“Greenbriar gave all tenants the option of transferring their lease to another apartment, but some chose to stay,” Naurer said.

Some leased tenants will be scattered among the resident students in the apartment buildings rented to the University. So, resident students will not be completely segregated from tenants.

Greenbriar is still renting spaces in Columbia Court Apartments, Heinz Apartments, and at 516 E. Merry Street that are not already occupied by tenants or newly rented by the University.

The University is still planning how to govern the new space. Exactly how many resident advisors and hall directors will work at the buildings has not been decided. Shuttle service and the mixed population of pre-leased tenants and resident students is still a concern. Discussions are expected regarding whether any scattered tenants should answer to a resident advisor, including observation of quiet hours.

Nick Hennessy, associate director of Residence Life, said, “The University will definitely provide staffing, and that staff will be trained to deal with [these uncertainties].”

A committee will discuss plans for the new space during a closed meeting Friday morning.

Ashlee Rauckhorst, president of Resident Student Association, wonders if moving underclassmen off-campus would weaken the possibility to build a strong college community.

“The suddenness about it worries me because I don’t think we’re prepared for apartment-style living on our campus yet,” Rauckhorst said.