A new on-campus housing building is in the works. The building, to be named College Station, will likely be located at Southwest Sixth Avenue and College Street and house approximately 950 students.
A new on-campus housing building is in the works. The building, to be named College Station, will likely be located at Southwest Sixth Avenue and College Street and house approximately 950 students. Housing officials estimate that the facility will open in the fall of 2012.
Planning for the new residence halls began in spring of 2008 with a preliminary search for a development company to collaborate with. That search has ended now that Portland State is in the final stages of contracting with American Campus Communities, a Texas-based company that specializes in high-quality student housing.
The only out-of-pocket expense to Portland State is the cost of acquiring the land, said Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller Dee Wendler.
“Since [the land] is adjacent to the new Green Line light rail, TriMet is acquiring the various parcels on that block as part of the transit-oriented development, and will then allow the university to purchase it, at slightly less cost,” Wendler said.
The university already owns part of that block, the Sixth Avenue Building.
“We have authority from the State Board of Higher Education to sell up to $8 million in bonds for land acquisition for the project,” Wendler said.
The school would then ground-lease the land to ACC and use those lease payments to cover the annual debt service on the bonds.
Like the Broadway Building, College Station would be built, paid for and owned by an outside entity.
“From an urban planning perspective, the site for this project is an excellent location for university housing as part of a transit- and pedestrian-oriented development,” said Associate Director of Auxiliary Services Dan Zalkow.
Like Broadway, the new facility will also incorporate eco-friendly amenities and bicycle storage space. It will also be mixed-use, with retail space and offices on the lower levels and badge-access-only housing on the higher floors.
“The dense amount of retail and housing will create an incredibly vibrant node of activity in the university district,” Zalkow said.
This new building, however, will not be open to new first-year students aged 19 or younger. Officials say this is because they want to branch out and meet the needs of older and continuing students, specifically those with a desire for privacy and personal space.
In order to get an accurate idea of what students are looking for in housing, an online demand-study survey was sent out to current Portland State students last week. It covered topics such as amenities, cost and location.
“That survey is critical in making these final decisions,” said Executive Director of Auxiliary Services John Eckman.
While many of the finer details are still uncertain, it is very likely that College Station will feature more community space—such as game or exercise rooms—than other buildings, and floors will be set up to more closely resemble a neighborhood setting.
Housing officials hope that these unique features will help to instill a strong sense of community among residents.
Looking farther into the future, University Housing is also hoping to collaborate with ASPSU on the development of more family housing, as well as the possibility of graduate student housing.
“We just love to keep increasing the number of options students have,” Eckman said.