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  December 10, 2001

Board Gives Go-Ahead for New Housing Options

The Board of Trustees has approved $72.1 million in Special Obligation bonds to build suites and apartments in North Campus, construct Greek housing, and complete nearly $15 million in residence hall renovations.

The bonds, which will be repaid with student fees and are all self-supporting, will fund 500 beds in apartments intended for juniors and seniors willing to take on year-round housing contracts, similar to the new Hilltop Apartments, and 500 beds in suites, in an area off ConnTech Road north of Northwest Campus. They will also fund a Greek community to be constructed next to the Towers residence halls on Route 195. None of the projects will use UConn 2000 funding. The new residence halls will open in fall 2003.

The Greek housing will be served, along with the Towers residence halls, by a new dining center that will replace four small cafeterias and improve efficiency, said Carole Henry, executive director of housing and food services.

Moving students who are members of the Greek organizations into the new housing will free up residence hall space elsewhere on campus and will improve oversight of the organizations, Henry said. The Greek community will have staff support, and the student conduct code will apply to residents.

Currently, there are 901 members of fraternities and sororities living on campus, but only 85 of them live in the seven on-campus Greek houses.

Henry said the demand for housing is so strong that the University is now using as an incentive the ability to deny students with two or more violations of the student conduct code the ability to live on campus.

"We have one of the highest percentages of students living on campus of any public university in the nation," she said.

Also included in the bond issue are funds to renovate residence halls in the Alumni Quadrangle and Shippee, Buckley, Grange, and Hicks Halls.

Future housing planned for the campus includes 500 to 1,000 beds of graduate student housing, and discussion of replacement housing for West Campus, which may be torn down.

Also approved by the trustees was a $5 million loan to the Student Union building project, to be obtained from operating reserves and repaid with a new student fee of $13 per student per semester, starting in 2003.

"We are willing to pay the fee to get the benefits," Michael Nichols, a freshman, told the trustees.

Matthew DeConciliis, who spoke on behalf of the Student Union Board of Governors, said the fee is a "small price to pay for such a great project."

Eddie Daniels Jr., director of campus activities, who briefed the trustees about the project, said nine open forums for students were held and the prevailing views were in support of both the project and the fee. The project will be built in phases, with construction beginning in summer 2002 and scheduled for completion in 2006.

Karen A. Grava