New University Village housing construction well under way

Construction is going quickly on the University Village, a student apartment complex that should reduce the size of the commuter population.

Construction began in March for the project, which has been in the works for 12 years.

Housing is currently available for only 27 percent of the student population.

“We have not built new housing on campus in 36 years,” Dr. Patricia Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, said.

Dr. Whitely expects the project, which will cost approximately $61 million, to be completed by Fall 2006.

According to Dr. Whitely, the University Village will house 800 students, mostly upperclassmen undergraduates and a limited number of graduate and law students. There will be 41 one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments; 81 two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments; 48 four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments, and 101 four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartments. All the rooms will be singles with furniture, utilities, cable and high-speed internet, and each apartment will include a washer and dryer. There will be one covered parking space per student, as well as gated entrances and 24-hour maintenance available.

The complex will occupy 7.18 acres of land between Red Road, San Amaro Drive, Corniche Ave. and Brescia Ave. That area housed the office of University Communications, fraternity houses and temporary gravel parking lots. Sarah Artecona, assistant vice president of media and community relations, said University Communications wwas relocated, and the fraternity houses will remain the same. Parking was redirected from the gravel lots once construction began.

The original University Village plan, set to house more than 1,100 students, was proposed in 1992 but put on hold after Hurricane Andrew. Once it resurfaced, the UM Neighbors Homeowner’s Association expressed concerns over the increased traffic, noise and possible security problems the plan would bring. As a result, the University had been negotiating the details of the proposal with the neighbors for the past few years.

“We went through a mediation process with the neighbors, and we came up with a good solution,” Artecona said. “There was a reconfiguration of the building in 2002 to slightly reduce the number of apartments and to increase the number of parking spaces, so there should be 800 or so spots.”

That reconfiguration also includes building 16 townhomes between Corniche and Mataro avenues.

“The townhomes will be available for rent by faculty and staff to act as a buffer between University Village and the neighbors,” Artecona said.

Patricia Mazzei can be contacted at