AUSTIN (KXAN) — St. Edward’s University is working to find temporary housing for around 400 of their students who were supposed to live in new campus apartments this fall. Students were notified through an email Monday that the Pavilion apartments were not ready yet and still under construction.
“At first I was pretty mad, but I live [in Austin over the summer] and my dad used to work in construction and I would drive past [the Pavilions] and be like it doesn’t look like it’s gonna be ready,” said Lindsey Pelley, a sophomore at St. Edward’s who was planning to live in the Pavilions with her friends.
Pelley is left wondering where she’ll need to move her belongings to and whether she will be able to live with the roommates she had originally signed up to live with. She wishes the university would send out a list of places the students in temporary housing may potentially be living.
“Not knowing anything is really, really stressful,” she said
Mischelle Diaz, director of Communications the university, said, “We are focused on making sure that our students have a secure, comfortable and convenient place to live in the fall semester despite the disappointing circumstances, and we know that they were disappointed. We as a university are disappointed as well.”
Diaz said that every student who was signed up to live in the Pavilions will have a place to live this fall. However, the university still hasn’t determined where that will be and classes begin in about a month
Diaz explained that St. Edward’s is speaking with a number of properties, all of which are near to campus.
The university plans to tell students their housing placements next week. St. Edward’s plans to offer students a free shuttle service from their temporary housing to and from campus.
The Pavilions are a large construction project with multiple building which began construction last summer. Diaz said the delay came down to a number of factors, from complications in weather to permitting.
“The most significant challenge this project has had is a labor shortage, which as we know is a problem in the Austin area and it certainly did impact this project,” Diaz said.
“So in early July when the university was certain that it wasn’t going to be ready, we quickly mobilized to get information together to mobilize the students,” Diaz said. “And we did that on Monday morning.”
On-campus housing is significant at the St Edward’s campus, where roughly 40 percent of students live on campus.
Diaz explained that the cost of the temporary housing will either be equivalent to or less than what students would pay to live at the Pavilions.
“The university is in the process of discussing what rate adjustments could be made to rent,” she said.
She explained that students should be able to move into the Pavilions next spring. To compensate for the inconvenience, the university is giving the students in temporary housing free campus parking passes and free rent in the dorms during the summer of 2018.
Pelley is now waiting for an email from the university to decide where she’ll be living on campus. She hopes the university is transparent with students as this process continues
“Without communication, there are so many rumors going on, some people say we’ll be living in tiny little hotel rooms, other people slaying we’re going to be living in nicer apartments than we’re getting, so you just gotta communicate and make sure things go as smoothly as possible, because things are kind of rocky right now,” Pelley said.
She clarified that she doesn’t believe the construction delays were the university’s fault, she just wants St. Edward’s to understand the stress students are under having their living arrangements up in the air.
“Know that we’re probably stressed out just as much as [St. Edward’s is], and that they have to be open to change as much as we do, I’m sure there are a bunch of students who are going to say, we can’t deal with being in a hotel, I’m going to have to move to another place,” Pelley said.