The University of Dayton is planning to build an $11 million, four-story apartment building in the south student neighborhood, another step toward its goal of “housing all undergraduates in university-owned housing.”
About 90 percent of UD undergraduates currently live on campus in housing ranging from traditional residence halls and apartments to lofts and single-family homes.
The school plans to start construction in May and finish the new building by fall of 2017. It will replace the McGinnis Center, a former Dayton Public Schools purchased by UD in 1984, at 301 Lowes Street.
Officials say it will take about a month to tear down the current structure.
“There is strong student demand for university-owned housing and the high-quality amenities, safety features and service we provide,” said Beth Keyes, UD’s vice president for facilities and campus operations.
“Our student neighborhoods are true communities and the experience of learning and living in community is at the heart of a University of Dayton education.”
The townhouse-style building will include 96 living spaces, featuring new appliances, including washers and dryers, solid surface countertops and wood-look ceramic tile.
A final vote on the project will come at the board of trustees executive committee meeting in April.
Keyes said the Catholic, Marianist university has had to turn down some student housing request every year due to the under-supply of housing.
That demand has grown as enrollment has ticked upward. Between 2010 and 2014, UD’s fall undergradaute enrollment jumped 10 percent to 8,529.
“This is another step in the goal of housing all (UD’s) students. We have greater demand than what we have, and some do get turned down,” Keyes said.
Keyes says the university will continue to build new housing over the next few years to address that demand.
“We’d like to house 99-to-100 percent (of students) with need for housing,” she said.
The university says that during the past decade more than $150 million has been invested in “new construction and renovations for more than 439 residential houses, duplexes, apartment buildings and residence halls.”
That expansion has come with a price tag. According to an analysis by this newspaper in September, the fastest increase in housing costs at Ohio colleges and universities occurred at UD, where the average room and board — when accounting for inflation — jumped 26 percent from 2010 to 2014, to $11,840.
The university has the fourth-most-expensive housing costs in Ohio, up from 25th in the state in 2002.
While rising tuition garners national attention from policymakers and student advocates, the cost of living on campus quietly has had its own surge. From 2002 to 2014, annual tuition increases outpaced room and board costs in Ohio, but only slightly. And since 2010, the rate of increase for room and board — which includes food and housing — has been greater than tuition.
Keyes said parents and students get a good deal, and would have to pay more to find similar housing and amenities.
Fourth-year UD student Katie Klima, told this newspaper in August that living near campus at UD adds greatly to her college experience.
The Cleveland native pays around $4,500 to live with four other students in a house located in UD’s student neighborhood — concentrated housing units on which the university spends $2.7 million a year to maintain and upgrade.
UD officials say students like Klima forgo the stress of dealing with an unresponsive landlord, and live in a community setting.
“It’s the only time in our life when we will live around so many people our age, and be able to walk outside and see friends, cook out and play cornhole,” Klima said.
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