Two homes, two daycare centers and many parking spots are at the negotiating table for the University of Oregon’s next residence hall project.
Like the other facilities spearheaded by the UO’s Campus Vision Framework Project — which includes a new softball stadium and science building — the new student housing building on 17th Avenue and Moss Street is to accommodate a growing student body.
In the last 20 years, the number of students living on campus has increased by 8,000.
Michael Griffel, the UO housing director, said that the 18-month project is also an investment.
“(Students) that are living in an academic residential community are graduating at such a significantly higher rate,” Griffel said. “So we really want to be investing in those communities.”
Unlike the other facilities, its construction means infringing on an already cramped parking situation and demolishing nearby homes.
The area designated for the project is currently a parking lot used by the Moss Street Children’s Center and the Vivian Olum Child Development Center. In addition to the loss of parking spots, the construction is also a concern for children and their parents.
To address the concerns of all affected by the housing project, the Campus Planning Committee held a number of meetings over the last few months. The last meeting was on Feb. 13, and allowed residents and individuals with concerns to speak to Griffel and leaders of the project from the architectural firm, Mahlum Architects — the same firm that developed the Moss Street Children’s Center.
Despite concerns for the children that attend theMoss Street Children’s Center, parents as well as the director, Becky Lamoureux have kept a close connection throughout the development process.
“The university housing and campus planning have been in contact with us since the very beginning. It’s been really nice because they’re seeing us as an important piece of how the project will go and I feel pretty well considered,” says Lamoureux, who oversees up to 128 children in any given day.
Regardless of how smooth communication has been, parking remains to be a concern even after the project is finished. The Global Scholars parking lot is limited and may become worse once construction begins. Parents that have children attending Moss Street Children’s Center and the Olum Child Center have also expressed the need for better parking, but are limited to space available during school days.
The new housing will occupy the lot near the Olum Center and the UO has no solution as of yet to compensate for loss of parking spots.
Yongwoo Jeung is a Political Science graduate student, as well as a GTF that lives in a home that will be removed for construction. The homes being removed for construction as of now are the two homes existing on the corner of Moss Street and 17th Avenue, and with the need for more parking, other homes may be affected in the future. Jeung’s concern is where the UO is investing its money.
“One might argue that money is needed for funding graduates and helping faculty members publish things and ultimately providing an ideal environment for scholars,” says Jeung. “But as shown in the recent GTFF strike last year, it is dubious that the profit gathered is re-invested on the university community.”
The housing project will be funded using room and board fees paid by on-campus residents.
The new housing development will have residents of the homes near the construction zone removed by the end of June.