Rooms with a view: CMU opens new phase of student housing

It was the view that spurred sophomores Katy Bruner and Rachel Nowak to pick a room on the top floor of Colorado Mesa University’s newest residence hall, Orchard Avenue Apartments.

The balcony that juts off the six-person apartment they’ll move into Aug. 17 overlooks Walker Field, Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa. The upperclassmen-only apartment complex at 1062 Orchard Ave. is positioned just north of the rest of the CMU campus, which was another selling point for Bruner, who is from Parker, and Nowak, originally from Windsor.

“We wanted to live in an apartment but still live on campus,” Bruner said.

“We’re still on campus, but detached a little,” Nowak said.

Nowak and Bruner checked out their new digs Monday during an open house at the new apartment building. Orchard Avenue Apartments is the 11th student housing option to open at Colorado Mesa and the university’s third apartment option, after Walnut Ridge Apartments and the 3-year-old North Avenue Apartments.

Freshmen and sophomores at Colorado Mesa who are unmarried, under 21 and not living at home have to live on campus as long as there’s room. Cecilia O’Connor, a junior at CMU and a resident adviser in Bunting Student Housing, lived at home her first semester at Colorado Mesa but moved on campus as soon as a room became available. She said the up to 192 beds Orchard Avenue Apartments will add living space to CMU’s ever-expanding campus, as well as more flexibility for upperclassmen who want to follow the requirement but desire a less-traditional dormitory experience with a kitchen and less supervision.

“Apartments are a nice alternative because you don’t need a meal plan,” O’Connor said.

Not having freshmen around can also be a nice touch for Orchard Avenue Apartments residents, according to CMU sophomore Chelsie Roth.

“Obviously, a lot of sophomores don’t want to live with freshmen. They’re in a more settled position than freshmen,” Roth said.

Troy Seppelt,  director of residence life, said he had some 20 beds left to offer students as of Monday. Near-full or full capacity in the residence halls doesn’t scare too many students into asking permission to live off campus, Seppelt said.

“Generally speaking, most students roll with it,” he said.

Students have been applying for on-campus housing since February. Between late applicants and students deciding last minute not to come to campus, though, room assignments are rarely solidified until about two weeks into school, Seppelt said.


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