AMHERST, Mass. – With the dedication of a $92.9 million student apartment complex next week, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will unveil its first new housing on campus in 35 years.
The North Residential Area, a complex of four apartment-style buildings for undergraduates, will be dedicated Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 11:30 a.m. The five-story buildings are located directly west of the existing Sylvan housing complex and adjacent to Eastman Lane. UMass President Jack Wilson, UMass Amherst Chancellor John Lombardi, state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg and Board of Trustees Chair James Karam will be among the officials attending the ceremony.
The facility’s 864 beds will make a major difference this fall in what has been a tight campus housing market. “Development of the North Residential Area not only provides a new and attractive housing option for our students,” said Michael Gargano, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life, “but it also creates additional capacity in our housing system to accommodate the strong interest to live at UMass Amherst.”
Students will start moving into the complex Sunday, Sept. 3. Dawn Thompson, director of residence life, said she expects three of the four buildings will be ready for immediate occupancy, with a final decision on the fourth (Building D) due Aug. 28. If a delay does occur, it should last two to three weeks, with 192 students assigned to temporary space in other residence halls. Thompson emphasized that students affected by a delayed opening “would receive equal amenities and compensation.”
Current figures indicate that UMass Amherst will meet all undergraduate requests to live on campus this fall, Gargano said, with no students assigned to live temporarily in off-campus hotels. In recent fall semesters, some undergraduates have been housed temporarily in off-campus hotels. A key difference is the new apartment complex.
This fall, the total number of beds expected to be available on opening day is 12,514. This includes 12,013 beds in residence halls, 401 temporary spaces in residence halls and 100 temporary spaces in the Campus Center Hotel. Currently, known demand is 11,820. Some students who applied late for housing have been provided temporary accommodations in the Campus Center Hotel. Typically, no-shows and withdrawals early in the semester create vacancies, and students in the Campus Center Hotel will be reassigned to a residence hall.
If there is a delayed opening of Building D in North Residential, Thompson said students will receive a refund of $76 per week while assigned to temporary housing; access to a micro-fridge in their room; one lunch or dinner pass for each day in temporary housing, and moving assistance to the apartment complex. “We have notified all the students who will be affected,” Thompson said, “and we hope they will be understanding as we finish the final details. It’s going to be a great place to live.”
Each apartment unit in North Residential will include four single-occupancy bedrooms with a shared kitchen and living room area. The buildings are arranged to create a traditional quadrangle area between buildings that provides a sense of community and encourages outdoor activity. Located near adjacent outdoor areas, the new housing will also provide easy access to fields for intramural sport activities. The architect is ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge, Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., and the builder is Dimeo Construction Co. of Providence, R.I.
This fall, UMass Amherst will have 45 residence halls, grouped into six residential areas. The campus has three housing rates: apartments (nine-month rent), $6,750; single rooms (eight-month rent), $4,575; and shared rooms (eight-month rent), $3,705. The last residence halls built prior to North Residential were the Sylvan complex, which comprises Brown, Cashin and McNamara halls and opened in 1971. The oldest residence hall is Thatcher, constructed in 1935.