New Apartments Address Demand for Columbus State Campus Housing
COLUMBUS, Ga. — Workers are putting final touches on new Columbus State University apartments to house 92 students in three buildings at CSU’s RiverPark Campus in Uptown Columbus, and university officials expect all beds there and on main campus to be filled when students start moving in Aug. 8.
“We continue to have strong demand for on-campus housing,” said Jonathan Lucia, Columbus State’s new Residence Life director. “All of the work that’s been put into taking historical structures and repurposing them is extremely impressive to me.”
Fontaine Hall, on West 11th Street between Broadway and Front Street, will be the centerpiece of new RiverPark Campus housing, resulting from a management agreement between Columbus State and the W.C. Bradley Company, which is developing the three-story, 117-year-old building as a part of a joint venture. W.C. Bradley will lease the building to CSU Residence Life, which will manage it as student housing. Extensive renovation of the architecturally significant building resulted in 18 apartments housing 37 students.
Thirty-one students will move into 15 new studio apartments on the ground floor of CSU’s Yancey Center at One Arsenal Place, already the Front Street home of faculty offices, classrooms, computer labs and more. Another two dozen students will be housed in similar new studio apartments in the Oglethorpe Building on First Avenue, which connects to existing student housing in The Rankin at the corner of Broadway and 10th Street.
Later this fall, the university plans to open a new RiverPark Campus dining facility in the same building, in the space formerly occupied by the private Rankin Deli at the corner of 10th Street and First Avenue. When completed, that will replace CSU’s existing RiverPark dining facility, The Den, operated by CSU’s food service vendor, Aramark, on Broadway.
The expansion reflects the growing popularity among students of living in Uptown Columbus, as well as Columbus State’s commitment to ensuring they enjoy all the amenities of students living on main campus. University Police have long had a presence at RiverPark, where all residence halls and university buildings feature scan-card access as a security precaution. In recent years, Columbus State has beefed up RiverPark Campus living with its own bookstore, computer labs, health clinic and counseling services.
Columbus State operates a busy fleet of shuttle buses, featuring wi-fi access for mobile computing, to move more than 10,000 students weekly between the two campuses. RiverPark Campus is home to the Schwob School of Music, as well as the departments of art, communication, history and geography, and theatre. Other academic units hold classes there as well.
Lucia, who was director of Residence Life at Birmingham Southern College before arriving at CSU this summer, said he’s impressed with Columbus State’s commitment to ensuring a quality student residential experience.
“This is some of the nicest and most innovative student housing I’ve seen,” he said. “The university is being very intentional about encouraging our students to live on campus so they can enjoy the 24/7 university experience.”
In fall 2011, when CSU enrolled more than 8,300 students, Columbus State was forced to provide temporary housing for more than 150 students at a nearby motel. Lucia said he believes the new RiverPark Campus apartments will prevent that from happening again, but the university always has contingency plans to accommodate a temporary housing overflow. The new RiverPark Campus apartments make it possible for Columbus State to house more than 1,300 students.
Columbus State’s demand for RiverPark Campus housing is expected to grow as the area prepares for the opening, in summer 2013, of what’s expected to be the world’s longest urban whitewater course, running 2.5 miles along the Chattahoochee River, less than 100 yards from student housing.
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Photo caption: Fontaine Hall, built in 1895 on West 11th Street, has been transformed by renovation and to become one of three new buildings in Uptown Columbus with apartments for Columbus State University students. Full-resolution photo