UT plans to build $145M, 1000-bed on-campus undergraduate housing complex

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University of Texas plans to build a new housing complex for undergraduate students with 1,000 beds.

The UT System Board of Regents has authorized UT to proceed with negotiations for constructing a new undergraduate student housing complex estimated at $145 million, with 1,000 beds.

The upcoming undergraduate housing project, at UT will be the first of its kind in almost 20 years according to Jim Davis, the university’s operating officer. The plan is to have the new housing complex ready for occupancy by fall 2027. The proposed location for the development is, along Whitis Avenue, where the current Whitis Court residence hall stands. This hall comprises six buildings and accommodates 200 beds.

The university is planning to meet the increasing need, for on campus housing by constructing 800 beds according to Davis. He mentioned the importance of maintaining the right bed capacity. Highlighted the challenges of construction in terms of time and cost. The goal is to have these new facilities ready, by 2027 to accommodate the evolving student requirements.

Davis said that the timeline for demolishing the Whitis Court complex remains uncertain as it requires an evaluation beforehand. He also highlighted that the planned mid-rise structure will feature a courtyard for gatherings positioned close, to a dining hall and the Duren Hall residence. This development is expected to enhance community engagement on the campus side.

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The board of regents gave their approval on Thursday for UT to proceed with a lease agreement involving the 2033 Higher Education Development Foundation, a profit organization that provides real estate advice to the university. This foundation will work with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions LLC, a campus developer to construct the housing complex as outlined in the boards agenda. The university’s board approval also allows for funding the $145 million project through the UT Systems Revenue Financing System.

According to Davis, Public-private partnerships with organizations like the 2033 Higher Education Development Foundation often lead to cost and time savings for projects. This marks the university’s second venture in this direction following a partnership for a student housing project near Interstate 35, currently in progress and set to open in autumn. With 784 beds Davis described the partnership and project as a rewarding experience.

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How affordable is UT’s new undergraduate student housing complex?

Finding affordable a housing for students at UT is a challenge because of the increasing number of students. But the university is taking steps to tackle this issue.

Last Year, UT President Jay Hartzell introduced a housing scholarship program to assist around 3,500 students by covering some or all of their housing costs alongside reduced tuition. UT allocated $5.8 million from housing revenue to support this initiative during the 2023-24 year, as part of their efforts to enhance affordability as stated in a press release.

Davis said that the pricing for accommodation in the new building is still under consideration but is expected to fall within the range of the university’s existing on-campus housing costs. He also expressed optimism that first-time students would take advantage of the new facility.

Davis mentioned that the beds, in the complex will qualify for the president’s scholarship. He also noted that the housing revenue generated from the units will contribute to enhancing the sustainability of the scholarship over time.

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Davis mentioned that the university plans to assess its existing structures to maintain top notch accommodation, at UT. “Our recent building dates back, to 2007 while our oldest housing facility is quite ancient though it remains well maintained ” he explained. “We aim to consider what the future requirements might be.”

“Chairman Eltife and the Board of Regents have our gratitude, for giving the light to revamp Whitis Court. This project aligns with UTs mission to provide on campus housing for first time college students allowing them to immerse themselves in the vibrant UT community ” expressed Hartzell in a statement. “Its been, than 15 years since we last upgraded a residence hall. We’re excited to begin this new chapter.”

Hartzell said in an interview, following the regents board session that the new development initiative serves as another component of the university’s plan to make housing more affordable, for students. He noted that students tend to perform when residing on or, near campus.