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Rental rates set for new WMU apartments

July 24, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A name and fee structure for Western Michigan University's new apartment complex were approved by the WMU Board of Trustees at its July 23 meeting.

The complex, which is under construction, has been named Western View. Phase I of the fast-track project involves constructing four buildings containing 110 units. The buildings will be ready for occupancy by fall 2011 and will house 330 upper-level and graduate students.

The per-bedroom rental rates trustees set for the one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units are $675, $460, $415 and $390, respectively. The rates include parking, cable, trash removal and added security features, such as swipe-card access and security-camera monitoring. The rates are for the 2011-12 academic year and will go into effect at the start of the fall semester.

Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs, says the fee structure is being set now so students and families can plan ahead. The University will begin accepting applications for the new apartments in September.

"The new apartment complex complements existing on-campus options while providing living arrangements comparable to those available in the broader community," Anderson says.

"WMU provides campus housing because it supports recruitment, retention and our student-success efforts. Students benefit from living on campus because of easy access to classes, services and events."

Recommendations for Western View's name and fee structure were made to the WMU Board of Trustees after gathering broad input throughout the planning process from the University community, especially students.

Anderson says the name is an apt one, given that the Phase I buildings will be located on the west edge of the main campus and allow residents to overlook much of the West Campus.

She adds that a thorough analysis was done before determining rental rates. That analysis included reviewing on-campus housing rates, studying comparable apartment rental rates in the community, and obtaining feedback from students. Factors such as location, age of facilities, square footage, convenience, amenities and utilities included all were considered.

In addition to 20 residence halls, WMU operates three apartment complexes. The existing complexes have 361 units for students and families.

The decision to update the University's housing stock and tailor the new construction to the needs of upperclassmen resulted from extensive market research and an analysis of on-campus housing demand. Phase I of the Western View project is part of a multi-year effort that has been launched to address the changing needs of students, as well as to replace aging on-campus apartments.

"We know many students still want to live on campus after their freshman year, and we know students who live on campus are more successful academically," Anderson said early this year when announcing the updating effort.

"Our current residence halls are designed for beginning students and are meant to encourage interaction and the establishment of a circle of friends. As students mature, they prefer the kind of privacy and independence apartment living provides. Our waiting list tells us there is an unmet need for such housing, and Phase I of this project is our first step toward meeting that need."

Western View will be the first undergraduate student housing built on WMU's West Campus in nearly half a century.

Site work for the $12 million first phase began in April and officially kicked off June 1 with a groundbreaking ceremony. Four three-story buildings are being constructed, all encircled by Knollwood Ave., the Trimpe Building, Kohrman Hall and Western Avenue. The buildings will feature two-color brick facades and a traditional look similar to WMU's East Campus buildings.

Phase II is scheduled to begin within the next four years and will create housing for more students based on demand. That project will involve adding units to the Phase I site as well as constructing new buildings on a site behind the Bernhard Center and Sangren Hall.

In keeping with the University's commitment to sustainability, the Western View apartment complex will meet LEED certification standards and offer recycling locations convenient to each of its buildings. The complex will have a small number of larger floor-plan units as well as offer both furnished and unfurnished units.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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