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Off campus housing planned for WSU Vancouver

On May 15, Washington State University Vancouver began reviewing proposals for off-campus student housing. WSU Vancouver hopes to start a three-year lease agreement for a new or existing facility that would be within walking distance from the Vancouver campus.

According to the original press release by WSU Vancouver, the student population is near 3,000 students and the housing project expects to house approximately 125 students as early as July 1, 2014 — just over 4 percent of the student body.

The facility could be anything from an existing hotel to a brand new apartment complex. The criteria for the prospective housing evaluation process will include safety/security, amenities, location/accessibility and cost of the proposed facility.

When WSU Vancouver was formally established in 1989, it served juniors, seniors and graduate students. The campus did not admit freshmen or sophomores until 2006. Becoming a traditional campus has allowed WSU Vancouver to develop a much more diverse age demographic. By 2020, the campus projects its student population to grow to 5,000 students. However, WSU Vancouver does not plan to construct on-campus housing for another three to 10 years.

Lynn Valenter, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations, will play a crucial role in the evaluation of submitted proposals.

“The addition of student housing will allow us to serve students who are place bound but desiring a residential campus experience,” said Valenter. “We also anticipate we’ll be seeing increased international students.”

WSU Vancouver is also a popular choice among transfer students. The university expects a large influx of students from Clark College in Vancouver, as well as Lower Columbia College in Longview in the next few years. Even though demand has been difficult to accurately assess, Southwest Washington has been looking to increase and perfect the accessibility of its baccalaureate degree programs.

“Students have been vocal advocates of housing,” said Valenter, “but it’s not just housing, it’s an enriched student experience.”

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