There will be 56 brand new apartments waiting for University of Jamestown students come August.
UJ Place, the apartment complex the university partnered with EPIC Companies of West Fargo to build, is expected to be ready to house students this coming school year.
"I think it is new, fresh and exciting for us," said Dustin Jensen, UJ dean of students and vice president for student affairs. "The residential population of the university continues to grow dramatically, enrollment numbers continue to go up and up and it's just a need for us. We need additional housing, we need options for our students and it is going to provide that."
UJ Place will provide the university with 56 units for a total of 112 beds. The complex will house one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. The four one-bedroom units measure 630 square feet per unit while the 48 two-bedroom units range between 850-900 square feet. The four three-bedroom units are 1,190 square feet.
Crews have not run into many setbacks in constructing the new living spaces since beginning work in September.
Cabinet and elevator suppliers did shut down temporarily due to the coronavirus pandemic but McKenzy Olson, vice president of marketing and public relations for EPIC Companies, said EPIC has taken steps to avoid contact between members of the construction crew and those in offices.
"Some precautionary measures we have taken are maintaining social distancing on the job and having conference calls for our construction meetings," Olson said, "We do not want multiple contractors in one location or apartment unit working at one time. The site is large enough, and there is plenty of work to be done to maintain proper social distancing on our job site."
Jensen said the only other challenge posed to construction workers at this time has been some overly saturated ground due to the heavy snowfall this past winter. The overly soggy ground has yet to dampen the spirits of those involved with the new partnership.
"It's going to offer that off-campus feel while truly being on campus," Jensen said. "It's just another great space on campus."
The university began planning for an increase in living space in September of 2018. Jensen said the nearly 75,000-square-foot complex is owned and operated by EPIC and the university is responsible for filling UJ Place with students. Jensen said the facility will help to service the current and prospective student populations while housing commercial tenants on the ground floor. UJ Place will also offer tenants underground parking.
"It had been challenging for many (students) to find housing in the community and this was an option for them to be able to have exclusive on-campus housing," Olson said. "We are so excited to open this building and provide much needed additional student housing to the University of Jamestown."
All of the added housing space will be located on floors two through five of the new building. Olson said EPIC is currently leasing all commercial spaces on the first level and is looking for commercial tenants. The commercial spaces could be leased to a retailer, bar and grill owner, office workers or recreational facilities. Jensen said construction is trending in the right direction and Olson said crews are working on residential cabinetry at this time.
All of the pieces are in place to have a new spot for the new and returning Jimmies, assuming the students will be back in the fall.
Due to the pandemic, the university decided to hold all class meetings online for the rest of the spring semester. Come August, Jensen said the university will adhere to any and all restrictions implemented by government officials at that time. UJ is still currently planning on moving ahead with scheduled plans for next semester.
"Keeping our students in our community is something we believe strongly in," Jensen said.