YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – One of the major pieces in the development of Youngstown State over the past five years has been a series of new apartment buildings.
In a five-block stretch of Rayen Avenue between Wick and Fifth, five new apartment buildings have opened or will have opened in five years.
“It’s been an exciting evolution to be a part of,” said Eddie Howard, vice president of student affairs.
Howard has been the university’s point man for the construction of five new apartment buildings along Rayen Avenue. Those doing the work have told him they don’t think anyone else has anything like it.
“Akron, Columbus — none of them has the type of unique bed spaces that we have created over the last three or four years,” Howard said.
At Wick and Rayen, there are The Enclave and Campus Lofts — the latter of which is still being built.
At Rayen and Fifth are two buildings of University Edge, with a third under construction as well.
The additional apartments were needed to meet President Jim Tressel’s goals of increasing enrollment and student retention.
“We’re looking at ways to recruit outside of the five-county to draw students in and then, we hope, that they’re going to want to live in these really nice apartments,” Howard said.
Five years ago, 1,400 beds were available to YSU students. Next school year, there will be 2,300 beds — an increase of 60%.
Total construction costs have been about $25 million.
Still, Howard said the campus is not oversaturated with housing — but is it time to stop building for a while?
“My thought process is that we’re at a place where I feel like we have an appropriate number of beds in and around campus,” he said. “There’s not really another spot, I think, that you really could build without some type of some other property being purchased or something.”
The cost of living in one of the new apartments ranges from $700 to $1,000 a month. Students can rent something as small as a studio apartment for one person only or something as large as five bedrooms.