The future: Expansion

Adapting: The changing face of housing near PSU Part 2 of 3 Today’s story: Housing officials hope to increase the total number of students in Portland State housing by at least 200 people next fall, before the university tries to build a new near-campus housing buildings.

Adapting: The changing face of housing near PSU

Part 2 of 3

Today’s story: Housing officials hope to increase the total number of students in Portland State housing by at least 200 people next fall, before the university tries to build a new near-campus housing buildings.

The series: Alongside the departure of College Housing Northwest from PSU housing, the university is working to expand University Housing to accommodate an increased demand for housing close to Portland State. During the first three days of this week, the Vanguard will examine the current state of downtown housing, the future of University Housing, and the history and departure of College HousingNorthwest at Portland State.

In her second year at Ondine Residence Hall, 20-year-old Jazmin Ogle enjoys the extra space she has living in a dorm room by herself.

“It’s nice,” said Ogle, a sophomore who lived in an Ondine dorm room with a roommate as a freshman. “It was a huge learning experience. Parts were nice, and parts were annoying.”

Next fall there will be fewer students like Ogle living in private suites.

University Housing officials plan to double up 200 freshman dorm rooms and apartments starting fall term 2007.

Close to 1,600 students currently live in Portland State apartments or dorm rooms, and housing officials would like to increase the number to at least 1,800. Portland State currently owns 1,390 apartments or dorm rooms on campus.

Portland State housing officials said most of the freshmen who will be doubling up will be part of the First Year Experience program. The program is designed to connect first year students to Portland State through group activities, social events and with the peer support of resident assistants.

First Year Experience is run on two floors of the Broadway Housing Building at Southwest Broadway and Jackson Street and on four floors of the Ondine at Southwest Sixth Avenue and College Street. The Broadway building has 383 studio apartments and the Ondine has 288 dorm rooms.

While not all freshmen are required to participate in the program, twice as many students participated in fall 2006 than in fall 2005.

John Eckman, chief housing officer of PSU housing, said that students outside the First Year Experience

will be able to double up dorm rooms or apartments if they choose.

An increase in demand for Portland State housing has caused Auxiliary Services, the self-supported University Housing operator, to pack more students into Portland State housing, Eckman said.

In fall term 2001, 1,048 students lived in the 928 PSU-owned housing units. Today, 1,594 students live in 1,390 units.

Consequently, the university has had to place nearly 100 students in University Place, the hotel PSU bought in 2004 east of Southwest Fourth Avenue near Lincoln Street, last year because there was more demand for housing than there were rooms.

Beyond packing more students into the 10 buildings owned by Portland State, officials plan building new housing to meet the increasing demand.

Governor Ted Kulongoski recommended a $1 placeholder in the state budget for the 2007-09 biennium to build housing at Portland State. If the Legislature approves the $1 placeholder, PSU will be able to appeal to the state Budget and Management Emergency Board for money required to build a new housing building.

Pending the approval, PSU will build a new dorm or apartment building within the next two years. Eckman said that because housing projects pay for themselves, the Legislature is more likely to approve the project in the capital construction budget.

If PSU gets the go-ahead, there are three prime locations that Ernest Tipton, Portland State campus design and planning manager, says are possible candidates.

The first and probably most likely on-campus location, on the corner of Southwest 12th Avenue and Market Street, would be ideal because there are housing buildings in the nearby area, he said. A grass field and the University Honors Program building occupy the block, which is north of West Hall and east of the Helen Gordon Child Development Center.

Tipton said that if the block were developed into housing, the historic honors building would be moved to a different location.

The second and third locations, according to Tipton, would be next to the Montgomery Court and Blackstone housing buildings–on Southwest Montgomery Street and 10th Avenue-or at the University Place hotel.

Unwilling to give any specifics, Tipton said that a new building in the area next to Science Building 2 could replace the aging, often bed bug-ridden, Montgomery Court. Tipton said that administrators have considered turning Montgomery Court into offices.

The third option, at University Place, would be the furthest option from PSU. Portland State has an agreement with the Portland Development Commission and the neighborhood association near University Place that will only allow housing development in the area.

“They didn’t want it to become a big academic center,” Tipton said.

While any exact location of a new housing building is uncertain, Eckman said he expects a new housing building to have close to 650 units.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it were something like the Ondine,” Eckman said.

Eckman said there are two design possibilities for a new building that would highlight the interests of two different groups.

The first, an apartment-type building like the Broadway with kitchens and private restrooms, would appeal to international students and older or non-traditional students. The second, dorms like the Ondine that would act as a “bridge of the academic and living,” would appeal to traditional students.

“Trade out kitchens, trade in lounges,” Eckman said.

Tipton described a building with a ground floor of retail and a second floor of classroom space, all topped by multiple floors of student housing. The exact type of rooms in a new building, however, is still up in the air.

“It would be about the scale of the Broadway,” Tipton said.

Tipton said that there is a possibility of privately financed, student-priced housing developments going in the area around the new recreation center–on Southwest Fourth Avenue south of Harrison Street–which could change the location and type of housing that Portland State would build.

Despite any development of outside housing, Eckman and Tipton expect some kind of new building to start construction within the 2007-09 biennium.

Ogle, who today is a resident assistant in the Ondine, said she is excited to see Portland State housing expand. She said that while she enjoys living alone in a dorm as a resident assistant, she would not be opposed to having a roommate again-just not in a dorm room.

“If I have an actual apartment, I would totally get a roommate,” Ogle said.