Monday, July 14, 2014

UIS needs more student housing, chancellor says

The University of Illinois Springfield needs more student housing as soon as possible, Chancellor Susan Koch says.

Private development, she said, appears to be the fastest route.

In an interview with The State Journal-Register, Koch said campus housing was at 93 percent capacity with a little more than 1,100 students last fall, and space is expected to be at least as tight this fall. Total fall 2013 enrollment of 5,137 was up nearly 17 percent in a decade.

Koch said public universities have turned to private developers as an alternative to traditional construction, especially at a time of uncertain state funding.

UIS has a concept — a multiple-story building with commercial development on the ground floor — and a site on university land near the 11th Street entrance to campus.

“We got by this year. We may squeak by next year (2014-15),” Koch said, “but we're pushing capacity pretty hard.”

Specifics of number of apartments needed — the word “dorm” is avoided on college campuses nowadays — and cost have yet to be decided. But Koch said added student housing is vital to the long-term strategy of extending the university's presence on and off campus.

“We are engaged with several developers who are interested in the project,” she said. “This is really driven by growth. We're going to outgrow our student housing.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on July 14, 2014.

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