Proposed student housing complex raises concerns

Tanning beds, a coffee bar, a game room and a 24 hour gym are just a few of the amenities that would be offered in a new proposed housing development. Campus Crest, a company that builds and operates student housing complexes has expressed interest in building a development in Bozeman for MSU students.

The specific development they are looking to build would be known as “Grove.” It would house around 600 students and be located south of Opportunity Way and east of South 11th Avenue. The “Grove” will be built specifically for MSU students but will not be associated with MSU’s residence life. Currently there are 46 “Grove” communities across the nation.

“Grove” residents are automatically entitled to amenities such as a private bedroom and bathroom, a common space and a kitchen. They will also have access to a 24 hour gym, study lounge, game room, coffee bar, tanning beds and a fire pit. The average rent for “Grove” housing is between $480 to $520 per month.

A Bozeman Zoning Commission meeting on the issue had high attendance with almost 150 people. Around 35 Bozeman residents spoke against the “Grove” coming to Bozeman. Several objections to the “Grove” were attributed to issues “Grove” communities have had in the past.

An instance related to Campus Crest that raised concerns was a balcony collapse that injured three people at a “Grove” in Denton, Texas in Sept. 2011. Campus Crest issued a statement saying the balcony was only for aesthetics and was a non-weight bearing structure, although the balcony had functional doors.

In Aug. 2007 students in Ellensburg, Wash. had to deal with a change in their lease because the lease stated the move in date as Aug. 15 rather than Sept. 15, when the apartments would actually be ready. The issue sent students scrambling to find temporary housing.

A similar issue occurred in the fall of 2013 when the apartments could not open on time for Penn State students. The students were forced to find short-term housing at the last minute.

Another concern for Bozeman residents is the possibility of more parties and increased traffic in their neighborhood.

MSU students, after being informed of the situation, seem to have mixed views on the new development. Freshmen and sophomores were the target audience interviewed because they will soon transition from living in the residence halls to off-campus options.

Zack Murphy, junior: “I think if it is organized and run well it could provide an opportunity for students to go somewhere and not party. The rent doesn’t seem out of control especially for a place with things like a coffee bar and gym.”

Joe Rizzi, freshman: “It’s just not what I came out to Montana for and I don’t see a place like that fitting into the Bozeman lifestyle.”

Griffin Trayford, sophomore: “It would be a nice living option for people but I do feel like the concerns as far as increased parties and more traffic are justified. Personally it’s not something I would look into.”

Kaitlyn Hintz, sophomore: “There would be more traffic in that area and it would just be much busier in general. It is nice that it’s close to campus though, and the rent doesn’t seem bad in comparison to what most people pay.”

Dillon Hanson, freshman: “With so many students in one area it would have to be monitored pretty closely, otherwise it is going to get trashed. It sounds like something I would consider, but I would definitely have to look more into it.”

Lucia Palmer, freshman: “I don’t think we live in the type of town for such a development. It just doesn’t seem like something meant for Bozeman or MSU. The amenities would definitely be cool but I don’t think those are enough to make me want to live there.”