Students and contractors said a new private student-housing complex on the west side of campus will make for a more attractive living arrangement next year.
CatCon LLC Developer Andy Ream said the privately owned construction management and development company is building ‘The Element’ in hopes of addressing many of these student concerns.
“We thought there was a huge housing need in Whitewater and it was not being addressed for what students are looking for,” Ream said.
Housing has become a main concern for the university over the last couple of years due to campus crowding in the dorms according to Ream.
“Most students are serviced by the university dorms their first couple of years but then are looking for other housing options due to some of the crowding issues,” Ream said.
Post-baccalaureate student Matt Munro said students want off-campus housing to be closer to campus.
“Any closer campus housing we can get at this point is good, especially if it’s quality new housing,” Munro said.
Senior Josh Ramey said students have a lot of negative reflections on the quality of the current off-campus housing situations in Whitewater.
“A lot of places around here seem very run down; we need quality places for students to live at,” Ramey said.
According to Ream, CatCon intends to address these issues by building ‘The Element’ on the west side of campus.
“We expect a positive impact because it is going to bring students closer to campus where they can walk a shorter distance to class and have a more stuctured environment and be closer to all the campus activities,” Ream said.
Ream said CatCon hopes ‘The Element’ will help make students more proactive and increase campus involvement, and students such as Ramey, agree.
“I think by having apartments closer to campus you’re seeing a lot more people getting involved more,” Ramey said.
Ream said CatCon plans to have ‘The Element’ accustomed more towards the junior to senior class, which will help create a more diverse mix of students on campus.
“I feel with these apartments you will probably see a new trend in more upper classmen on campus more for events or more use in the library,” Ramey said.
Munro said it seems like it will encourage a wider range of the student body to stick around and be more active on campus, which will make the campus experience more fun.
CatCon hopes Element will help change the campus culture and get students to stick around on weekends rather than returning home, Ream said.
“Whitewater has been stereotyped as a ‘suitcase community,’” Ream said. “We hope that Element will have an impact and change the campus culture and decrease this stereotype of the university.”
Ramey said closer off-campus apartments are more attractive to students for multiple reasons other than a shorter walking distance.
“I think by having these closer apartments to campus, it makes a very attractive housing arrangement for students with campus jobs and also many students who are already actively involved in a lot of campus organizations,” Ramey said.
Construction is set to begin Nov. 1 on the new apartment complex.