September 25, 2016

Webster University offers cheaper, off-campus housing

With larger freshman classes and limited housing last school year,  many students were left without an on-campus home. To accommodate the growing problem, Webster University entered into a 10-year agreement with Glen Park apartments to reduce the burden and provide off-campus housing to students.

Glen Park is located on Lockwood Avenue less than a half mile west of the university campus.  While Glen Park is not made up of solely university students, 28 of the 38 apartments are currently being leased by Webster University, with plans for the remaining 10 apartments to be made available in time.

Sophomore Joanna Hernandez said she was ready to be living off campus but due to her plans to study abroad in the spring, signing into a yearlong lease was not an option. But since she is leasing with Glen Park through the university, she is able to be off campus for a single semester without signing a lease.

“The feeling of living off campus is lost,” Hernandez said. “You feel secluded.”

Chief Financial Officer Greg Gunderson said the university did not approach Glen Park about the 10-year agreement. Instead, real estate firm Sansone Group approached the university with the option.

In the past, members of the Webster Groves community voiced their concerns about the university community expanding past Lockwood Ave. Gunderson, however, feels the city should be pleased university students are moving further into downtown Webster Groves. Gunderson said local businesses like Dewey’s Pizza and Abode Coffee House will likely see an increase in student business and interest.

Hernandez said she views this as an opportunity for university students to prove they can be part of the community and not fit into that “college party kid” stereotype.

But three days into the school year, a letter was sent to all Webster students at Glen Park, listing several complaints that had already come forward from non-Webster residents. Complaints were as followed:

Residents complained that students have been smoking on the premises, which is strictly banned by the property owners.

Students received multiple complaints of noise violations.

Issues with parking due to the increase traffic into the apartment’s lot.

Students were informed in the same letter if problems were to continue, university judicial action could be taken against them.

Gunderson said while the university is not actively seeking out partnerships for expansion, they are always open to possibilities.

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