Delay of Lakeside Project creates tension between housing and graduate students| Oct 2, 2014
Tensions between the University administration and some members of the graduate student body arose after the University announced a delay in the opening of the Lakeside Graduate Housing, a housing development being built near Lake Carnegie.
According to John Ziegler, the director of real estate development. Lakeside was supposed to open in July 2014. Ziegler said that, as a result of various issues with the project, the units will open in two phases. The first phase will be in December and January of this year, and the second phase will be in the spring.
“It’s a large project –15 buildings on a fairly constrained site –but given the complexity of a project of this nature, a delay in one area has a cascading effect that ripples through the entire project.” Ziegler said. “There’s been a number of reasons why the project did not meet the original date, but I have to be frank and say many of those reasons involved contractual relationships that we’re not in a position to discuss.”
Students who were assigned to move to Lakeside have found themselves living in Butler and Stanworth apartments temporarily while they wait for the project to be completed. During a Graduate Student Government town hall meeting on Sept. 24, many of the students complained of what they called deplorable living conditions, unanswered requests of maintenance and the inconvenience of living in temporary housing.
Butler apartments were slated for demolition this year, but the demolition has been postponed in order to accommodate the overflow of graduate students who would have otherwise lived in the new Lakeside complex. Graduate students have recently complained that maintenance services have been subpar, claiming that laundry machines malfunction and that they have seen rats.
Andrew Kane, assistance vice president for housing and real estate services, said that he did not know these things were a continuing problem.
“The University is committed to maintaining those properties as we always have,” Kane said. “They are older properties, but any student in any of our housing who encounters a maintenance concern or a need for extermination services should contact our facilities service center.”
To help alleviate some of the issues associated with moving in the middle of an academic year, the University has offered graduate students assigned to live in Lakeside a package, Kane said, including temporary housing in Butler and Stanworth, assistance for moving to the Lakeside apartments and rent forgiveness for the last month in the current apartment and the first month in Lakeside.
Alexander Berg GS, who wrote a letter to the editor this week about graduate housing conditions, said that this is not enough.
“Many of us think that they should be proportionally increasing the compensation packages if they’re making life more difficult for us,” he said.