University officials will soon implement plans to demolish all on-campus apartment complexes except Bobcat Village, leaving many students searching for off-campus housing options for the upcoming summer and fall semesters.
Clear Springs Apartments, which has been vacant since September, will be demolished by fall 2014, said Juan Guerra, associate vice president of Facilities. Campus Colony and Comanche Hill on Comanche and Wood Streets and Riverside Apartments, located next to Strahan Coliseum, will close and be torn down at some point in the future, said Nancy Nusbaum, associate vice president for Finance and Support Services Planning.
Administrators anticipate the Campus Colony and Comanche Hill properties to be the future site of an engineering building once state legislators approve funding for a Tuition Revenue Bond. Costly apartment renovation estimates and a need for expanded academic space led officials to decide on demolishing the complexes, Nusbaum said.
The demolition of the campus apartments is not intended to encourage upperclassmen to move off campus, and may increase the amount of students who want to live in residence halls, Nusbaum said. The university’s primary housing concern lies with providing beds for the rapidly growing freshman classes, she said.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with wanting the upperclassmen off campus,” Nusbaum said. “We would love to have the upperclassmen on campus, and we keep trying to add new residential halls to campus to have those that want to live on campus be able to live here.”
Students living in Campus Colony and Comanche Hill were recently notified their leases will expire at the end of the spring semester, Guerra said. Some residents of Comanche Hill and Campus Colony are searching for off-campus housing to move into once their leases expire in May rather than applying to live in a residence hall.
Alexandria Cowan, a nutrition and foods sophomore who lives at Campus Colony, and Kimberly Abanaka, a psychology senior who lives at Comanche Hill, both signed leases in fall 2013 and now must move out of their apartments less than one full year later. Both Cowan and Abanaka said they experienced residence hall life as freshmen but will not consider residence halls as a living option for next year.
“The dorms were okay, but I don’t want to be restricted like that again,” Abanaka said.
The remaining on-campus apartment option for students will be Bobcat Village, located on the corner of Aquarena Springs Drive and Mill Street. Other campuses such as Texas Tech University and UTSA have similar living options, offering only one on-campus apartment complex.
Cowan said it is difficult for upperclassmen to secure a lease at Bobcat Village because it is available to incoming freshmen.
Amanda Cepola, sophomore Campus Colony resident, said her on-campus apartment has come with benefits not available in a residence hall or off-campus apartment.
“Living at Campus Colony provides all the benefits of an off-campus apartment but also allows me to walk to class and avoid rent payments as part of my student loan,” Cepola said.
Once students experience the freedom of an apartment, returning to a residence hall is not a comparable option, Cepola said. Bobcat Village will not be a prime option for Cepola next year, she said.
“(The complex is a) distance from campus, and along with the stricter RA surveillance, it makes Bobcat Village a less desirable living option,” Cepola said. “At this point, I think it would just be easier to find something off campus.”