Residence department seeks to lease off-campus apartments

The residence department would like to lease five off-campus apartment buildings -- including the 10-story high-rise at 119 Stanton Avenue -- to temporarily increase its capacity until an expansion of the Frederiksen Court student apartments is completed in spring 2014. University officials will seek Board of Regents approval for the proposal when the board meets Thursday in Cedar Falls. The state Attorney General's office also needs to approve the final details.

Residence director Pete Englin said a rising rate of students opting to return to campus housing and "another strong freshman class" are key factors behind the decision to lease off-campus space and operate it as university housing.

"And for every student who requests it, we want to provide an experience that connects them with each other and connects them with university services," Englin said.

Listen online

Audio of public portions of the meeting will be live streamed on the Board of Regents website.

As of April 1, the residence department reported about 1,200 more requests for housing this fall than it has spaces. Two of six new Frederiksen Court apartment buildings will open in August, adding 240 beds. The other four buildings (about 480 beds) are scheduled to be phased in during spring semester 2014.

The Stanton Avenue high-rise would add about 300 beds to the department's capacity. Four apartment buildings under construction on Maricopa Avenue in southwest Ames would add another 200 beds.

As proposed, the residence department would pay American Campus Communities (ACC) approximately $1.7 million to lease the Stanton building and Jensen Properties approximately $1.03 million for the four apartment buildings. The lease period is Aug. 1, 2013, to July 31, 2014. Student rental rates in those buildings would mirror those at Frederiksen Court.

Englin said each site would be staffed with a hall director and peer community advisers (eight on Maricopa Avenue and 12 on Stanton Avenue). Additionally, the residence department would spend about $1.5 million to furnish all the apartments similar to its on-campus apartments. At the end of the off-campus leases, this furniture would replace worn pieces in the existing campus inventory.

Finally, the residence department would pay half of the relocation costs for tenants in the Stanton Avenue building who already signed leases for the year that begins Aug. 1. ACC owns about 20 rental buildings in Ames and would find other spots for those tenants. Iowa State's portion of relocation costs wouldn't exceed $15,000.

Residence system funds would cover all these expenses.

In fall 2012, the residence department had housing contracts with 10,575 students. The housing inventory included about 10,170 permanent spaces in residence halls and apartments and 428 temporary spaces in residence hall dens.

Other business

Other Iowa State items on the board's agenda include requests to:

  • Approve a list of 56 promotions and/or tenure for ISU faculty members. The list includes 32 promotions with tenure, 20 promotions for faculty previously tenured, one promotion without tenure and three tenure awards without promotion. If approved, the changes would take effect for the academic year that begins in August.
  • Approve parking permit fees for the calendar year that begins July 1. Iowa State is proposing a flat $10 increase for all permits, excluding motorcycle permits ($3 proposed increase). The proposed increase for annual permits in the Memorial Union ramp is $12.
  • Approve residence system and dining rates for the year that begins July 1. Just as it is holding all tuition and fees at current rates next year, Iowa State proposes a 0 percent increase for all residence hall and student apartment rates, as well as all dining meal plans, including semester meal block options and ISU Dining Dollar packs. The "door rate" for guests who purchase a meal at a campus dining center would remain at $8.50 for breakfast, $10.50 for lunch and dinner.
  • Sell an estimated $20.2 million in Memorial Union revenue bonds to refund remaining (2015-30 maturities) bonds sold in 2004 for renovations to the MU and its parking ramp. Lower interest rates would result in an estimated $1.8 million in savings.
  • Sell an estimated $2.9 million in Regulated Materials Facility revenue bonds to refund remaining (2014-19 maturities) bonds sold in 2003 to build the Environmental Health and Safety Building on the north side of campus. Lower interest rates would generate an estimated $280,000 in savings.

A full agenda is online. The audio portion of the meeting will be streamed live on the board's website.