Demolishing on-campus apartments positive decision

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The decision to tear down old and derelict on-campus apartment buildings to replace them with parkland and new structures is a positive one and will no doubt help Texas State polish its image as a university striving to achieve tier one status.

Clear Springs Apartments closed its doors to residents for the fall 2013 semester, and Comanche Hill, Campus Colony and Riverside Apartments will close to students at the end of the semester, according to a Feb. 27 University Star article. Officials plan to tear down the university-owned apartment complexes, excluding Bobcat Village, in the near future. Comanche Hill and Campus Colony will be torn down in the near future to make way for a new engineering building, pending funding from the state legislature.

University-owned apartments including Clear Springs, Comanche Hill and Campus Colony are eyesores and substandard. While the older university-owned apartments are a cheap fix for students on a tight budget, the complexes can no longer safely and adequately house students. It is embarrassing for a university striving to achieve tier one research status to have an on-campus complex deemed “uninhabitable,” as was the case with Clear Springs.

It is reassuring to know Texas State administrators finally understand the need for a visually appealing skyline when it comes to on-campus housing. The worn-down on-campus apartments starkly contrast Texas State’s shiny, new multi-million dollar dorms like Chautauqua and Gaillardia Halls as well as construction plans for the West Campus Housing Complex and the Moore Street Housing project.

Bobcat Village is the only university-owned apartment expected to be left standing after the demolition of the other campus complexes. Located just off campus by Bobcat Stadium, the slightly more expensive option allows students to live in a less restrictive environment than dorms. If students want to venture outside of university-affiliated housing complexes, however, there is no shortage of apartment options in San Marcos.

Sanctuary Lofts, The Timbers Apartments, Treehouse Apartments and Vistas San Marcos are just a few of many off-campus complexes within walking distance of campus. It is understandable why administrators plan to demolish many of the university-owned apartments, especially considering there are dozens of housing complexes on the outskirts of campus.

With the soon-to-be destruction of many campus apartments, administrators should make an effort to consider upperclassmen when planning future complexes. To put it in perspective, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas-Austin both reserve 30 percent of the rooms in some dorms for upperclassmen, according information on the campuses’ housing websites.

Instead of wait-listing upperclassmen wanting to live on campus, the editorial board suggests administrators reserve a percentage of space in existing or new dorms for upperclassmen.

Another option is for officials to designate at least one dorm, whether it is one of the new complexes or one of the older existing ones, for non-freshmen and non-traditional students. Although catering to freshmen is important, such an option will provide upperclassmen who enjoyed living in the university-owned apartments with at least one alternative on-campus housing option in the future.

Administrators are taking a huge leap in the right direction by demolishing old university-owned apartments, a decision which is likely to attract large freshman classes and rake in more tuition and fees. Once the wrecking balls cease to swing, new facilities and parkland will rise from the construction debris like a Phoenix across campus.