Board of Governors approves new housing
It may come as no surprise, there's a shortage of housing on campus. But with a recent Board of Governors' approval, the fall of 2011 will see new residence structures on Busch and Livingston campuses.
Two new halls on Busch campus are planned to house 500 students, and the new apartment complex on Livingston campus is expected to have 1,500 beds for graduate and undergraduates.
The Livingston complex will have four single bedrooms, a kitchen and two bathrooms in each apartment, according to the concept document presented to the BOG.
"This is the first time undergraduates will have single bedrooms [in an apartment], just like in Rockoff, but [the University doesn't] own Rockoff," said Joan Carbone, executive director of Residence Life. "This is what students want. They like the privacy of a single bedroom but the camaraderie of apartments."
The Busch structures will not have single bedrooms but two two-bedrooms conjoining by a joint bathroom. The entire unit is referred to as a four-bed junior suite, Carbone said.
"For the second straight year, the Housing Office on the New Brunswick campuses has received more applications for student housing than it can accommodate," according to the concept document.
Shortage for housing next school year saw a lack of nearly 2,600 places. Although Carbone said the Busch and Livingston structures would not completely elevate the housing issue, they will help.
"As demand for on-campus housing increases, the existing student housing stock continues to age," according to the concept document. "The typical residence hall on campus has been in use for 40 years or more. A number of the oldest residence halls, which needed major improvements and had significant deferred maintenance issues, have been taken out of service … From an economic standpoint, it is less expensive for the University to raze such buildings and construct new facilities than to repair and renovate the buildings."
The total expense for the residential project is expected to cost $272 million — $215 million to Livingston and $57 million to Busch, according to the resolution passed by the Board of Governors.
"We won't begin borrowing money at least for a year and probably more like 18 months," said Bruce Fehn, senior vice president for Finance and Administration.
The money will be borrowed from investors who buy tax-exempt bonds. The longest bond will mature throughout a 30-year period, but most of them will be paid back before then, he said.
Most of the capital money used on projects for University improvement, like the Rutgers' $500 million stimulus package, is allocated from bonds like these, he said. The state does not give the University money for these types of plans.
In the next year or so, to begin paying for the project, the University will use a Commercial Paper Program, which Fehn said allows short-term debt bought by investors for 60 to 70 days until the University refinances that debt with the long-term investor bonds.
The Commercial Paper Program will allow the University to hire an architect to design the final blueprints, Fehn said. This part of the process will take student opinion into consideration of the final design.
Once the blueprints are finalized, a construction company will be hired, and the Commercial Paper Program will refinance to tax-exempt bonds, he said.
Besides the general financial plan and format of rooms, the only other aspect of the project set in stone right now is the locations.
The Livingston complex is planned to be on Joyce Kilmer Avenue, near the Rutgers Athletic Center and future buildings that are in the dream works, according to the concept document.
The Busch housing will be built on the site of Lot 66, near the other Busch residence halls.
The location of both structures is close to current bus routes, said Jack Molenaar, director for the Department of Transportation Services.
"Both sites will be served pretty well by the existing bus routes," he said. "We [Transportation Services] actually recommended Lot 66 on Busch. Everything on Livingston is within good walking distance."
Molenaar said Transportation Services is asked to advise on all Project Management undertakings to better support the University community and maintain smooth commutes.
"2011 is pretty far off to consider route changes," he said. "But the residence halls will be served well with transit."