Multimillion-dollar residential living project at Emporia State University begins with closing apartment complex

March 8, 2012

Emporia State University plans to close its ESU Apartments at 1201 Triplett Drive at the end of the summer semester as part of a multimillion-dollar project that will upgrade and renovate its residence hall offerings and move the residential living program closer to the main campus.

Residents of the complex were notified Tuesday night (March 6, 2012) during a meeting in the community center.

The complex has 96 units, according to Lynn Hobson, associate vice president for student life. It was built in the early 1960s when the trend was for universities to provide “married student housing.” Currently, the Office of Residential Life has contracts with 79 residents ranging from students who are single, single with children, married or have domestic partners. Of those 79, about 10 percent are scheduled to graduate in May or August.

The decision to close the complex came after lengthy study, said Ray Hauke, vice president for administration and fiscal affairs, who noted the occupancy at the apartments has been gradually declining over recent years.

“A housing analysis conducted for ESU by consulting group Brailsford & Dunlavey showed the apartments’ location was not as popular with students as other facilities closer to campus. This analysis confirmed the university’s data and facilitated determining the complex was no longer cost effective for ESU to operate.”

ESU is embarking upon an upgrade of its residential living program, an initial step of which will involve a $5.4 million renovation of Singular and Trusler halls, which adjoin the Towers Residential Complex. Later phases will include either new or significantly renovated units on or near the main campus.

The university would like to sell the property, to partially finance other renovations. Such a plan, however, must be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents and the Legislature.

It’s not as simple as putting a For Sale sign out front, Hauke said. The property is owned by the State of Kansas and, like any property, its future depends upon action by its owners, in this case the Regents and Legislature.

The first step, Hauke said, will be asking the Regents to approve the potential sale and include it in the Regents’ proposal for the 2013 session of the Kansas Legislature. Such action likely would come at the Regents’ September 2012 meeting.

To help residents of ESU Apartments with the transition into new housing, Emporia State is organizing a rental fair after spring break.

“We are sending out a letter to property managers inviting them to the fair,” Hobson said.

Besides working to help students meet with landlords, the university will provide refunds under certain circumstances.

“If their housing is paid in full and they find new housing before their term is up,” Hobson said, “we will refund the balance of their contract.”

The closing will be effective Aug. 11, the day students move in to campus housing for the Fall 2012 semester.

Property managers who want to participate in the housing fair for ESU Apartments residents can call Jackie Scott, interim director of residential life, at (620) 341-5264 or jscott1@emporia.edu.

 

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