Utah Tech’s college housing plan in St. George’s burgeoning real estate market

St George • Rapidly growing enrollment at Utah Tech University increases the need for student housing, but the school is struggling to rise to the challenge.

On February 9, the university will break ground on Campus View Suites III, a five-story, $70 million skyscraper that will dramatically expand on-campus housing options for students. When completed in fall 2024, the 164,000-square-foot dorm will add 564 beds to the student housing area on the northeast side of campus. It will complement the two existing Campus View Suites.

The Campus View Suites I, built in 2016, had 364 beds. This total was increased by a further 534 beds with the construction of Campus View II in 2021. According to university officials, the new residence will complete the Campus View Trifecta and allow more students to live on campus and in close proximity to their classes and student activities.

“We are very excited to begin phase three of Campus View Suites,” said Seth Gubler, University Director of Housing and Resident Life. “Upon completion, more students will be able to live on campus and experience the university’s programs, amenities and resources.”

University graduate Mike Hill likes the new look of the campus.

“With all the new construction going on every year, the campus resembles more of the quality university that it’s becoming than just a big high school,” said the St. George resident. “I think I speak for most people in the community when I say that it has been exciting to watch the University grow and progress.”

As exciting as the university’s more urban look is, Utah Tech officials say the new buildings are more about necessity than aesthetics. Enrollment at the university currently stands at 12,556, up 50% from the fall semester of 2014, when the institution welcomed 8,341 new students to campus.

And with enrollment projected to reach 16,000 by 2025, and growing between 4,000 and 8,000 every five years thereafter, the need for more student housing, buildings and other infrastructure will only increase.

“If you look at the projections, it’s possible that we’ll get to a point where we can’t accommodate all the students who want to come here,” Gubler said.

Campus View Suites aren’t Utah Tech’s only options for student housing. Gubler said the university has three other buildings designated as on-campus housing for single male and female students, although they are up to a mile across the street from the university.

The furthest away University Inn accommodates 44 single students in their own private rooms. The Chancellor Apartments, one block north of campus, house 30 students in a mix of private and shared spaces. The Abby Inn, across from the campus softball field, houses 90 students in a mix of private and shared rooms.

Finally, the university owns 19 apartments, which it rents to married students or single parents with families. In addition, there are 15 privately owned apartments specializing in student rentals located just a few blocks from campus.

Joseph Gee, a high school English teacher from Nampa, Idaho, enjoys his private room and bathroom at the University Inn.

“The [inn] has a nice atmosphere. It’s definitely not a party atmosphere,” Gee said, adding that the commotion that occasionally ensues when steam from the shower or the heat sets off multiple fire alarms is the closest thing to a party.

Aside from being close to the university, a major advantage of living on campus for singles is that students don’t have to worry about the cost of utilities or the internet. Married or single parents have to pay for electricity, internet and garbage collection.

Cost can also be an advantage of on-campus housing. According to Gee, the average cost of student housing over the course of a semester, about four months, reflects the cost of off-campus life. In some cases, he added, it can be significantly less.

“For example, the average cost of a private room on campus for a semester this year is $2,280 and off-campus is an average of $2,808,” he said.

Cost is important, but public safety is paramount for Mary Davis, a Salt Lake City native who shares college housing with Marianna Lewis of Stockton, California.

“It’s a lot better than being off campus because we live in a nice new building and I feel like it’s safer,” Davis said. “I see campus police patrolling at night and it’s reassuring to know they’re there.”

Once complete, Campus View Suites III will be a marked improvement over other on-campus accommodations. Among other things, there will be a grocery store with fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products on the ground floor. It will also feature additional storage space and shared private and group study spaces, according to university officials.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2023/02/03/utah-techs-plan-student-housing/ Utah Tech’s college housing plan in St. George’s burgeoning real estate market

Justin Scacco

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