Practically from the moment that the University of Connecticut opened its first residence hall in his city last year, Stamford Mayor David Martin has been hoping to add more student housing.
On Wednesday, June 6, he got his wish.
That’s when the UConn Board of Trustees voted to authorize approval of leases at multiple properties in Stamford for apartments that UConn would then rent to students. The new housing will add 120 beds starting this fall.
The trustees also gave administrators the authority to enter into an agreement for more units if those apartments fill up.
The housing will be offered in addition to the 116 apartment units at the six-story building at 900 Washington Blvd. that the university has been leasing to students since last fall under an agreement with the property’s owner, RMS Companies.
As with the Washington Boulevard property, the university said the new apartments will be rented at rates allowing UConn to recoup its costs through rent, along with the additional tuition and fee revenue that UConn receives from increased enrollment due to the housing availability.
“This is clearly a case of demand significantly outpacing supply in the best way possible,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “We needed to work to meet that demand and provide housing for as many students as we can in Stamford. We began this experiment a year ago and have been delighted by how successful it is. It speaks to the value of good student housing, but also the value of the campus itself.”
UConn’s decision to add housing last year at Stamford was the culmination of several years of work that responded to student demand at that campus – UConn’s largest regional location, with 1,700 undergraduates and 600 graduate students.
“Having our facilities separate but concentrated in the same area is very important because it helps to create an urban neighborhood campus right here in Stamford,” said Herbst.
“The desire to attend UConn Stamford and live in university housing is obviously incredibly strong,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Kruger. “We knew there would be solid interest, but this easily exceeds even our highest expectations. That is what we call a good problem to have.”
Scott Jordan, UConn’s executive vice president for administration and chief financial officer, told trustees in a memo along with Craig H. Kennedy, UConn’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, that more than 500 incoming UConn Stamford students had placed deposits on housing as of May 1.
Through normal attrition of students over the summer, the university estimates the ultimate housing demand will be between 400 and 440 beds, which would have left a shortfall of 80 to 120 beds at the Washington Boulevard site if the new agreements were not reached.
Applications to the UConn Stamford campus for the 2018-19 academic year were up by 429, or 23 percent, over the previous year, Kennedy and Jordan told the trustees.
“I have been saying for several years that having students living on the Stamford campus is good for UConn, good for the students, and it’s good for Stamford,” an obviously pleased Martin said. “Stamford has many unique opportunities for students to take part in outside of the classroom, including internships with major corporations. I look forward to continuing to work with UConn as they expand their Stamford campus.”
UConn has had a presence in Stamford since 1951, when it began offering extension courses in the former Stamford High School. A year later, a regional campus was formally established, with an enrollment of 21 part-time students.
The campus moved to a new building in 1962, with four-year degrees being offered in several fields of study starting in the 1970s. UConn Stamford moved to its current downtown location in 1998.