Residence hall construction sparks worry for graduate students

Construction of the new graduate student residence hall on the corner of 11th and Madison, pictured on August 11, 2023. The project, slated to be complete for the beginning of the 2024 school year, is well underway.
Construction of the new graduate student residence hall on the corner of 11th and Madison, pictured on August 11, 2023. The project, slated to be complete for the beginning of the 2024 school year, is well underway.
Sam Nicklous

There are currently 16 dorms on the Oregon State University campus, and only a few of them are dedicated to upperclassmen. Tebeau Hall, the newest dorm at OSU, was built in 2014. Since then, enrollment has increased from 25,701 to 32,014 students, according to university demographic reports.

With this growth in students, OSU is currently constructing its newest residence hall for graduate students and upperclassmen; however, some residents and alumni have expressed concerns about the plan.

The newest edition to OSU’s housing is planned to be completed in July of 2024, a month later than originally planned, according to John Doty, project manager at OSU Capital Planning & Development.

With a budget of $56 million, the construction team has not run into any issues with construction or negative feedback from the Corvallis community since their struggle for a permit, according to Doty.

Located at 1045 SW Madison Ave., the dorm will house approximately 223 students – graduate, and second year undergraduate and above – according to University Housing and Dining Services Director of Business Development and Assessment, David Craig.

“The new housing will be apartment-style suites, offering primarily two-bedroom units with each unit having its own kitchen and bathroom. There are also some studio units,” said Craig.

Like other dorms on campus, it will include a community kitchen, lounges, and recreation, as well as covered bike parking, according to Craig. Rent will be $1,200 – $1,300 a month per person, for two-person/two-bedroom units, and $1,500 – $1,600 per month for studio units.

“Rates will be finalized in early 2024 as part of University Housing & Dining Services’ budgeting cycle,” said Craig.

This rent pricing is similar to that of other upper-division housing on campus. For example, Tebeau Hall term rent is about $5,100 for a single. However, in comparison to other popular student housing options, like The Retreat and The Sierra Apartments, it is pricier.

Craig said that UHDS will need to add one or two new staff members for the hall, but “there is unmet demand for this type of housing on campus for second-year and above students” that they feel they will be able to counter.

Current and past graduate students are hesitant about the new edition. While they feel it could be helpful to incoming students, they also have fears about pricing and parking, among other things.

Olivia Goodfriend, who just graduated with a master’s in environmental art and humanities, said, “(The hall’s) proximity to campus and Monroe Street makes it conveniently located.”

Finding housing in a college town, especially one as small as Corvallis, can be challenging.

“I got lucky and found a place right when I moved here, but I did notice that options were limited on the typical rental sites like Zillow and Craigslist. I have heard from others that it’s difficult to find housing in Corvallis,” said Goodfriend.

Many graduate students prefer to live off campus, be that because of price, location, or independence.

“I personally would prefer to live off-campus in a house or apartment, and I think most of the grad students I know would agree,” said Goodfriend. However, Goodfriend also mentioned that the dorm would be appealing to students who have planned to live on campus.

Pharmacy graduate student Hannah Allen said, “Having a community of older students… is a step in the right direction, but I’m curious to see how OSU is going to execute it with pricing.”

Allen mentioned that a lot of graduate students have a hard time finding roommates, and another dorm for just upper division students could help.

“A lot of the people looking for roommates, or just the majority of students in Corvallis, are undergraduates, so it’s hard for grad students to find housing… with people with similar interests… if you don’t know anyone coming in (to OSU),” said Allen.

Allen lives around the area that they are building the new hall in, and has for the past three years. She attended OSU as an undergrad and decided to continue at OSU for her master’s.

UHDS assured that there should be plenty of space for students and their cars.

“There is a 33-space parking lot being constructed on the site, with additional parking located in nearby OSU-owned lots,” said Craig. “The adjacent city streets are managed by the City of Corvallis, and we expect that residents will adhere to the posted city parking regulations and requirements.”

However, as someone living in the area, Allen felt that street parking would not be available, ever. “This is going to be my third year living at this spot, and the parking has just gotten worse… so I have no idea where they’re going to put all these cars.”More information on the construction project and its progress can be found on the OSU project management website, including a live feed of the project.

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