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University makes room for incoming students

Photo by Eric Davidson

The University of Ottawa has opened two new off-campus residences to help house the nearly 4000 first-year students arriving in Ottawa for the new school year.

The first, on the corner of Rideau and King Edward, was formerly the Quality Inn, but has been renovated to suit students’ needs. This residence has room for up to 414 students. The second, on Henderson Avenue, is next to the Minto Sports Complex, and can house up to 172 students.

With around 42,500 students at the university, first-year students make up about 10 per cent of the population. Although the number of first years is growing, Director of Housing Service Michel Guilbeault said he believed that the new residences have satisfied the need to house them.

With the addition of these residences, the university is now receiving a record number of students in residence.  In total, it houses  over 4,000, up 580 students from last year, Guilbeault told the University of Ottawa Gazette.

These are not the first off-campus residences for the U of O, as the university opened a residence last September on Friel Street. Pressure from the surrounding community has killed several of the university’s housing projects.

According to Guilbeault, the residences will look to provide a social setting for new students with “incredible common spaces” that encourage interaction.

“I’m hoping there will be a big building-wide community,” said Felicity Radan, a community advisor at the Rideau residence.

The Rideau residence costs $6,627 for 8 months in a double room, compared with $5,267 for a double room in Stanton, Marchand, Thomspon, and LeBlanc— also known as the traditional residences.

The Henderson residence costs $7,507 for 8 months in a connected single occupancy rooms.

This makes the new residences some of the more expensive options. The most expensive option is a single room at Friel, which costs $8,391 for 8 months.

According to Guilbeault, the price difference arises from differences in the type of amenities and services offered. These include more bathrooms per person and 24/7 reception desks and security. Students in these two residences, as well as Friel, Brooks, and Hyman Soloway, aren’t required to buy a meal plan with the university.

The residences have also partnered with Protection Services and Foot Patrol to help students get back safely from campus

As for further expansion plans, “we’re always assessing new opportunities,” said Guilbeault. He also hinted that future residences might not be targeted towards first-years, as previous projects have been.