News

Existing building to become 400-space off-campus residence

Photo by Sabrina Nemis

The University of Ottawa is looking to turn an existing building at Rideau and Friel Streets into a space for 400 more student beds by September.

The university is entering a lease on the eight-storey building at 240 Friel St. with the intention to fill it with single and double rooms, common areas, kitchen and laundry facilities, and storage space for students, according to a statement issued by the university on Tuesday. The U of O would manage the building and provide the same services as on-campus residences.

The new residence will bring the university closer to its goal of 1,200 new residence rooms in the next three to four years.

The university guarantees residence to first-year students and has been finding it difficult to meet that promise with off-campus housing as residents of Sandy Hill raise concerns that an increased student presence will cause noise pollution and litter.

A proposal to build a 180-unit student residence at Laurier Avenue and Friel Street was rejected by city council on March 26.

Chad Rollins, a representative of Action Sandy Hill, raised concerns to city council that the increase in students would “ruin the character” of the area and create an imbalance in the diversity of the neighbourhood.

Construction on a 170-bed residence on Henderson Avenue is underway, slated to open September 2015. In an interview with the Fulcrum in April, U of O president Allan Rock said negotiations were underway for shorter-term solutions, but had not yet been made public.

The priority on providing first-year student housing is part of Rock’s plan to improve the sense of community on campus and the overall student experience as part of his Vision 2020.