CMU to build more student housing

Months before construction wraps up on a student apartment complex on Orchard Avenue, Colorado Mesa University is ready to break ground on its next student housing development.

Colorado Mesa Trustees approved a plan Wednesday during their meeting at the university to proceed with construction of a residence hall west of current campus boundaries in 2012–13. The complex, which will be built west of Cannell Avenue along Mesa Avenue, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2013 and will house up to 240 students.

The estimated cost of the project, $12.68 million, will be paid through bonds. The bonds will be paid off gradually by student housing fees charged to students who will live in the new residence hall. The university expects to receive nearly $1.8 million in housing, meal plan and activity fee revenue from students living in the residence hall within the first year alone of the complex being open.

Trustees reviewed a housing study earlier this year that found 546 Colorado Mesa students who are living off campus said they “definitely” would have been interested in living on campus if housing had been available for them in fall 2011. Maryland-based student housing research firm Anderson Strickler LLC conducted the survey in fall 2011 and received 1,347 valid responses from students living off campus.

The new student apartment complex on the northwest corner of 12th Street and Orchard Avenue will accommodate 192 students and increase on-campus housing capacity to nearly 2,000 beds. But the university would like to end a leasing agreement on the Four Points apartment complex, which houses 66 students, and placed 90 students in a hotel last fall while the students waited for on-campus housing to become available.

“We’re still 510 beds short, according to their study,” Colorado Mesa Vice President of Finance Pat Doyle said.

Doyle said the university expects to see increasing demand for housing as the school attempts to reach a goal of attracting more out-of-state students while still tending to the needs of students in and around Mesa County.

Colorado Mesa Student Services Vice President John Marshall said during Wednesday’s meeting 22 percent of students living on campus as of fall 2011 were out-of-state students, including a small portion of international students.

Off campus, that percentage fell to 9 percent.

Aside from having more room to attract additional students, Marshall said the Grand Junction campus does not have enough room to help all students satisfy the university’s request that all first-year and second-year students from outside Mesa County live on campus unless they are married or at least 21 years old by the start of the school year.

“There’s probably only room for a third of returning sophomores,” Marshall said.


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