The trip to class will be a bit longer this year for a group of students living off campus.
By RON COLE
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Nicole Bradford lived her first three years at Youngstown State University in a dormitory room on campus.
She couldn't cook in her room. She had to check in visitors. She had to trek down the hallway to take a shower.
For her senior year, she wanted something different, more independent.
"I wanted to get away a little bit," she said. "Just for a change of pace."
Bradford, 21, of Pittsburgh, is among 90 YSU upperclassmen living in The Woods of Liberty apartment complex this academic year under a temporary housing plan organized by the university.
More pros than cons
Although the apartments are nearly five miles from downtown and students must find their own way to and from campus, Bradford said the advantages -- private bathrooms, kitchens and no roommate if you choose -- far outweigh the inconveniences.
"I can come and go as I please," Bradford, a music major who will graduate next spring, said from inside her one-bedroom apartment. "It's a whole different world."
YSU is leasing nearly 100 apartments at the complex on Logangate Road for this year only while a 400-student, $22 million apartment complex is being completed on campus.
The campus apartments on Wick Oval, called Student Courtyard Apartments, initially were to be open for this fall semester, which begins today. Completion is now slated for fall semester 2003.
Rather than turning away potential residential students because of the delay, YSU decided to lease rooms at The Woods in the hopes that many of the students may flow into the new campus apartments when they open a year from now.
Less than a dozen of YSU's nearly 100 rooms at The Woods were unoccupied late last week.
Jack Fahey, YSU housing director, said the arrangement works well on many levels.
First, it eases the housing crunch in campus dormitories, he said.
The university's five residential halls, built to hold about 890 students, have been over-capacity the past three years, forcing some students to triple up in double rooms. This year, the halls are right at about capacity, Fahey said.
Second, more and more upperclassmen want to live in apartments, away from the restrictions of dormitories, he said.
The university also would like for upperclassmen to be in apartments because it frees dormitory space for freshmen students, he said.
The popularity of the Liberty apartments is proof that the new apartments on campus should do well, Fahey said.
"It reinforces what we thought we knew when we set out to build the [campus apartment complex], and that's that students really want apartments and they really want a bedroom to themselves," he said.
Michael Augustine, 24, of Akron, just got out of the Army earlier this month and enrolled at YSU to study exercise science.
"I didn't want to live in the dorms," he said from his apartment at The Woods. "This is much more conducive to my situation."
Bradford said she thinks the new campus apartments will be attractive to upperclassmen and older students.
"I think those will go over unbelievably well," she said.