Public-Private Partnership to Develop
Apartment-Style Student Housing
January 24, 2000
The University expects to have new residential facilities to house up to 1,500 students in the fall of 2001 and will then be able to offer students a full range of housing options, says Vicky Triponey, vice chancellor for student affairs.
The new facilities will include 900-1,000 beds in apartment-style housing, built in partnership with Capstone Development Corp., to be located just south of the Hilltop Complex on the west side of Alumni Drive. In addition, two new suite-style residence halls are to be built by the University as additions to Hilltop Complex.
Currently, most residence halls at UConn include double rooms built off a central hallway, with a community bathroom. South Campus, however, offers suites consisting of two double rooms, a living room and a bathroom. The new Hilltop suites will include two double rooms and a shared bathroom.
When the new facilities are completed, students will have a range of housing options: traditional residence hall rooms, suites and apartments, Triponey says.
The Hilltop Complex opened in the early 1970s and included at that time plans for several additional low-rise residence halls. The new housing will actually be in two buildings of 200 beds each, to provide a smaller community environment, Triponey said.
Since August, the University has selected a developer, met with students and neighbors to gain input on the proposal, completed environmental studies of the site, and completed designs for the apartments.
Under the partnership UConn is forming with Capstone Development, a company based in Alabama, the University will retain ownership of the land while Capstone will construct and manage the apartments. Students living in the complex will pay rent to the developer, who will pay rent to the University. The students will be subject to the University's Student Conduct Code, as they will be considered to be living on campus.
This type of arrangement between universities and private developers has been successful on hundreds of campuses in other regions of the country, but is a new model for New England, Triponey says.
Because this is the first project of its type in the state, financing under the preferred model could not be secured in time to meet the Universitys most optimistic - and extremely ambitious - date for completion in fall 2000. Instead, both phases of the complex - the new apartment-style complex and the addition to Hilltop - are expected to be ready in fall 2001.
Triponey says some students will have to live in triples during the fall 2000 semester. The University does not expect any more overcrowding than was experienced in fall 1999, however, and students will be offered the chance to move to other space with fewer than three occupants in the spring. Typically, there are about 500 vacancies in the residence halls each spring because many students leave for a semester abroad, an internship, a work co-op or some other activity.
Next fall, Northwest Campus - closed this year for renovations - will reopen, enabling the University to house a total of approximately 8,100 students.
Because residential space is at a premium, says Triponey, the University plans to schedule future residence hall renovation projects only during summers and campus breaks, when the students are not on campus.
She says the University, which has had more than a 34 percent increase in freshmen on the main campus over the past two years, does not plan to increase the size of the freshman class at Storrs next fall.