On Nov. 20, the University of Saskatchewan officially opened its first graduate students-only residence.
Graduate House is located on 1593 Aird Street and is the last addition to the College Quarter residence project that has a total of five new residences — increasing occupancy by 1,000 students.
Graduate Students’ Association President Ehimai Ohiozebau said the new residence has been met with positive reviews from his peers.
“There was a need to have it dedicated to graduate students so they would have an opportunity to interact with their colleagues,” Ohiozebau said. “It is a beautiful structure and is well designed for graduate students.”
Graduate House offers students their the choice of roommate in the two-bedroom units. However, children are not allowed.
Ohiozebau said the fact that the new residence is not for families is not an issue for graduate students, especially since Souris Hall is already available to fulfill those needs and that cost is the actual problem.
“The idea behind this housing is more for single people or couples without kids. If there is an issue, it’s more of cost — the ability to get affordable accommodation,” he said.
Graduate students are not struggling to find themselves places to live in Saskatoon, the challenge is finding places that are affordable. Ohiozebau said he hopes the U of S recognizes that this is an issue graduate students face.
“I wouldn’t go that far and say [Graduate House] meets the affordability mark,” he said. “I hope that the university will consider the need to review the current rates … I hope the university would provide more residences that would be affordable.”
Ohiozebau was a member of a planning committee that consulted with graduate students while designing Graduate House. However, he said that he was not part of the committee that recommended the cost for each of the different apartment units.
The new residence has four different apartment models, each furnished with a kitchen with appliances and a microwave, a bathroom and large windows for natural lighting.
The bachelor unit incorporates compact shelving units and a sitting area, if desired, into the nearly 27 square-meter apartment. This unit is recommended for students who value privacy and economical living spaces. The single unit loft is a spacious apartment with an upstairs bedroom, leaving a larger living area on the main floor.
Two spacious bedrooms, each with a large window, are the defining features of the two bedroom unit. This loft-style apartment is the most spacious housing option at Graduate House with one of the bedrooms located upstairs for ensured privacy.
Three wheelchair accessible units are also available in two different floor plans for students with disabilities. There is a 26.8 square-meter single-bedroom unit as well as a two bedroom apartment — one bedroom is wheelchair accessible while the second is intended for the student’s assistant — that is 47.8 square meters.
Aside from apartment-style living quarters, the first floor will include retail space, a meeting room, a laundry room as well as student, study and TV lounges. The second floor of the residence has a classroom, a study room and a lounge for socializing.
The five-floor residence can house 262 students, with 120 graduate students having already moved in.
Construction began in June of 2011 and is expected to be completed by this December, costing the U of S $39 million.
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor