On-Campus Housing Becoming Reality at Texas A&M International University

The latest indicator of the phenomenal growth of Texas A&M International University, construction of new student apartments, is growing evident on the northeast Laredo horizon.

Construction of the $5.1 million complex known as University Village is ahead of schedule and one-bedroom units are already sold out. Student residents will begin moving into the facility on August 23 for the start of the Fall 1997 semester.

Yvette Martinez, University Village leasing assistant, said applications are streaming in on a daily basis for the first student housing ever available at Texas' newest four-year University.

"At first we had some difficulty explaining on-campus living to students who had never heard of it," said Martinez, herself a recent A&M International graduate.

"Then they started to realize that we're the best of both worlds - It's the privacy and luxury of apartments with the benefits of a student community. You can get out of bed and be at your morning class in less than five minutes. And later you can study by the swimming pool," she noted.

A&M International president J. Charles Jennett said he is impressed with the privatized initiative and looking forward to the University's transformation to a residential campus.

"The addition of on- campus student housing is crucial to the University's continued growth and development. University Village will allow us to be able to offer a more complete student life dimension and, more importantly, provide the many out-of town or commuting students with an affordable student housing option," said Dr. Jennett.

Martinez said University Village is dedicated to accomodating student needs and preferences and has patterned its financial arrangements to the needs of full-time students.

"For example,the housing payments may be structured around the release of a student's financial aid award letter. Under certain circumstances a student can even get a larger financial aid award by living in University Village. "

"And because the resident agreements are 'individual lease liability,' no matter what unit a person lives in, a student resident is only responsible for his or her portion on the rent, never a roommate's. To help with monthly costs, the Housing Office also pays up to the first $30 of each unit's monthly utility bill. Also there are no utility deposits, hook-up or trash fees," she explained.

Martinez says those that might recall the old-style dorms of yesteryear will be impressed with the five-building complex tucked into a wooded glen at the entrance to the campus.

"At University Village every student gets a private bedroom and no one will ever share a bathroom with more than one person. And to help develop the exciting student environment, five live-in student Community Assistants are available with exciting programs and social activities planned," she said.

Martinez noted that construction crew of 50-plus is completing the project's exterior finishing, including attractive brick and masonry exterior and a grand tile roof that blends with the rest of the campus architecture. Within the units tradesmen will soon install cabinets, carpet, tile, appliances and window coverings.

"The completed garden-style apartment complex will feature a beach volleyball court amid an enclosed grassy courtyard and a spa and swimming pool designed specifically for water sports. The 48x22 swimming pool features "T A M I U" across the pool bottom in large tile letters.

"It's big enough that you'll read it easily from any airplane," said Ronnie Macejewski, vice president of construction,"...everything about this student community, from the tile roof to the brick, has been tailored specifically to compliment the stunning University architecture."

Macejewski said a primary focus of the complex will be Community Center, at the front of the complex.

"In addition to being the location of the University Village Housing Office, it will also feature a social lounge with big-screen television, a spacious laundry facility, and a convenient computer lab," he said.

Martinez said that of the 84 available apartment units, 48 of them will be 4-bed/2 bath units, 24 will be 2 bed/2 bath units and there will be 12 1 bed/1 bath units.

"All units are custom designed for students and feature individually locking doors, free basic cable, a full kitchen with a refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave. The 2- and 4-bedroom units are fully furnished with beds, dressers, night stands, desks and chairs, a coffee table, side table, couch and lounge chair and dining area," she explained.

In keeping with the campus' high-security utilization, the entire facility is well-lit, enclosed by a perimeter fence that will be included in campus police rounds. Residents and guests will be admitted via a card and intercom access system.

Texas A&M International University's University Village is a joint project, born of a partnership between Austin-based American Campus Lifestyles Companies, Texas A&M International University and the Texas A&M University System. American Campus Lifestyles Companies is developing and managing the property.

For additional information, please contact Yvette Martinez, University Village leasing assistant, at 210.326.3878, or visit offices located in Killam Library 157.

For construction information call Ronnie Macejewski, ACLC vice president of construction, at 713.861.7288.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu