NMU housing rates rise as Phase 1 on new residence hall project nears completion

MARQUETTE — It will cost Northern Michigan University students more to live on campus this fall, but they will have more housing options to choose from.

The NMU Board of Trustees approved housing and dining rates for existing halls as well as two new structures for the 2017-18 academic year on Friday.

Housing rates in existing buildings, consisting of Gant, Spaulding, Magers, Meyland, Halverson, Hunt, Van Antwerp and West halls will increase by 4.95 percent.

The cost of a standard double-occupancy room and the gold constant meal pass, the minimum dining option for traditional incoming freshmen, in the existent residence halls will be $5,039 per semester, an increase of $237, according to NMU Vice President for Finance and Administration Gavin Leach.

The cost increase for the existing residence halls will offset the rising costs required to maintain those buildings, Leach said.

“As far as our existing halls, what we are looking at is a large utility cost increase, in addition to that there is a minimum wage increase, and the increasing cost to maintain an aging facility,” he said.

By comparison, a double-occupancy shared suite and the gold constant meal plan in the two new residential units will be $5,432 per semester, Leach said.

Students who choose to live in the new facilities will pay less than $100 per month compared with the cost for pre-existing facilities, Leach said.

“This is the first time students are going to have choices,” Leach said. “Part of that is going to be differential pricing in the newer halls.”

EdR Collegiate Housing is building the new residential units, which will have 400 beds. The structures will feature three room styles: basic shared rooms about 30 percent larger than existing facilities with a partial wall divider between the sleeping areas; upgraded shared rooms offering private bedrooms with lockable doors; and single rooms with a private bath. They also have larger lounge areas and study spaces than other residence halls.

The $80 million project has been constructed, financed and will be maintained by EdR, who will also pay taxes and insurance, according to a May 2016 Mining Journal article, NMU will own the land, building and contents; operate the Residence Life program and reception; pay internet and cable; and collect rent, a percentage of which will go to EdR.

NMU requires all single undergraduate students to live in the residence halls during their first two years of enrollment, according to the NMU Housing and Residence Life website.

“Northern Michigan University’s requirement for on campus residence is intended to provide students with a living environment rich with opportunities for personal growth and social development, especially those which result from interaction with others, participation in community development activities, and involvement in other aspects of campus life,” the website stated.

Leach said it was important to the administration to establish rates for the housing now, as students will begin choosing housing options for the fall in March.

“We wanted to set the rates early so that students and parents can make informed decisions as they select housing for the fall. This is the first year that students have had choices,” Leach said.

The board approved naming the new housing complex The Woods, while providing authority to NMU administration to determine individual building names. The Woods was one of three names proposed by a committee and the most popular option among students who responded to a survey.

“We wanted to come up with a general name for the new complex that would allow us a level of flexibility in the future, should there be naming opportunities for private donors to sponsor halls,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “The Woods is appropriate because it signifies where we are in the Upper Peninsula and it has an environmental theme that we thought was pretty important.”

Other changes in housing policy included an approval by the board to offer a monthly rate for summer occupancy of its campus apartments and Spooner Hall. NMU had previously offered only a daily rate for summer occupancy of these facilities. According to a press release, the move will offer a savings to tenants seeking extended stays during the summer.

“The monthly rate will be more palatable to students and it decreases what they would have paid on a daily basis by as much as 25 percent,” said Jeff Korpi, director of NMU Housing and Residence Life. This will make the apartments more marketable and encourage students to spend the summer in Marquette, perhaps taking some classes.”

Detailed housing and dining rates will be available at nmu.edu/housing.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.