BETA

Family housing planned

REXBURG, Idaho — In an effort to provide sufficient housing for its growing number of students who are married or have families, BYU-Idaho has announced plans to build 156 units of housing.

At a Rexburg Idaho City Council meeting July 31, Student Life Vice President Robert Wilkes said BYU-Idaho will begin building family housing on university-owned property south of campus. Some ground preparation may begin this fall with construction expected to begin in the spring of 2003. About 70 units are scheduled to be ready for fall semester 2003 with the balance to be finished by winter semester 2004.

While it is the university's hope that much of the needed family housing will yet be provided by private developers, campus officials feel a strong need to move ahead with plans to build additional units.

Because the number of married students is expected to keep growing in the next few years, officials estimate a need for 1,000 additional units of family housing by 2005. They also estimate that between 250 and 260 units owned by private developers will be ready by fall semester 2003. With the addition of 156 university units, this will mean there is still a need for 600 more units by 2005.

"We appreciate everything that's been done by the private sector to help facilitate the building of family housing," Brother Wilkes said, "but it's also the fact that there's an urgent need for more family housing."

He said married students accounted for 24 percent of the student body during the first summer semester, 19 percent during second summer semester, and are estimated to make up about 17 percent in the fall semester.

He added: "We hope the private sector takes comfort with the fact the school will limit its initial building project to 156 units. There still will be a great field of opportunity for others."

The rent for the university-owned units will be competitive with the private sector, he said. "We've co-existed effectively with the private market for many years with our single units, and we intend to do exactly the same thing with our family units.

"We have no interest in building housing except for our students. There needs to be a place for them to live. We have the same urgency for housing as we have for having classrooms and classes for them."