As the fall semester kicked off at the University of Saskatchewan, roughly 350 undergraduate students became the first to set up shop in the swank new dorms at College Quarter.
It’s the first time in 40 years the U of S has expanded student housing.
Now approximately 1,500 students live in residences, or eight per cent of the student population. Those numbers, however, still don’t match the Canadian average of about 12% for universities of similar size.
Last year it was announced the two, five-storey condo-style residence buildings would be ready for 250 students for fall 2011. But with Meridian Developments ahead of schedule, about 100 more students have the chance to move in.
When the buildings are finished there will be room for a total of 400 undergrads, slated for January 2012.
The undergrad residence is the first phase of the College Quarter master plan which has been pushing forward since 2006. The second phase includes an additional 400 rooms for graduate students, and the long-term goal is to develop the entire 145-acre site next to Griffiths Stadium into a sustainable new U of S community.
“The plan features a variety of uses — student residences, academic, recreational and sports facilities, green spaces and a mix of offices, shops, restaurants, cafÃ©s, bookstores and more,” says the university’s College Quarter website.
The undergrad residence became a reality in 2009 when the provincial government provided $15 million and the City of Saskatoon chipped in $575,000.
The majority of the suites in both undergrad buildings are fully furnished, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and living area.
The standard price is $625 per person, which includes utilities, high-speed Internet, cable and a local landline. The price bumps up to $725 per person for a two-bedroom.
The buildings were designed to enhance sustainability, which has been a growing trend at the U of S, along with nearly every other post-secondary school in Canada.
They feature a solar water heating system, energy efficient windows and environmentally friendly faucets, washroom fixtures and appliances. Each floor is also equipped with shared recycling stations and pedestrian and cyclists paths will help deter vehicle use.
According to Jonathan Adams, Residence Life Coordinator for College Quarter, the first week went by without a hitch.
He said for the most part the partying was in-control, and about one-quarter of the students came out for welcome week activities including a scavenger hunt, jello slip-n-slide, residence olympics and water fights.
September 19 marks the grand-opening of the undergrad residence, with a formal gathering in the courtyard at 11, and tours of the facilities to follow.
photos: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf