If anyone wants to learn how to profit from college students, they should register for Jefferson Commons 1001. The “unique student housing environment” on Huron Boulevard is anything but satisfactory. In a time when attending the University is almost unaffordable, living near campus is becoming the same.
I am one of six guys living in a 1,111-square-foot apartment at Jefferson Commons. My roommates and I pay $2,920 per month for our four bedrooms. While the price includes several amenities, it does not include quality.
The most significant shortcoming of Jefferson Commons, which is located right off of Interstate Highway 94, is its lack of security.
My building’s main door is equipped with an electronic resident directory and buzzer that is supposed to allow residents to admit guests at the residents’ discretion. The buzzer, however, was operational for only four out of the 14 weeks I have lived in the apartment.
Of course, it is not necessary to “buzz” visitors in, because the doors to the apartment do not lock properly.
The amenities of Jefferson Commons are its selling point, but it is difficult to invest in a computer lab with computers that lock up and lose papers, and a 14-person hot tub that is closed most of the year.
Parking on the premises is also costly. When my roommates and I signed our lease in December 2002, an above-ground parking space cost $50 per month, and a garage stall was $80 per month. By the time our lease began in August, monthly prices were $75 for outdoor parking and $150 for a garage. A look at next year’s prices reveals more increases. Outdoor parking and a garage will cost $100 and $175 per month, respectively.
If a Jefferson resident wishes to invite friends over at night, the friends cannot park in the parking lot between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. without purchasing a $5 permit from the front desk. A resident must also plan ahead when purchasing parking permits for guests because the permits are not available after 6 p.m. when the office closes.
Rent at Jefferson Commons will increase next year. If my roommates and I renew our 12-month lease, our rent will go up $100 per month.
It is time for someone to take initiative in regard to student housing. The Minnesota Student Association attempted to improve housing by proposing Project Lighthouse earlier this year. Even though many object to the details of the plan, students can at least take comfort in knowing that someone is representing them on the subject of housing.
Project Lighthouse will try to lower housing rates, open more residence halls and University apartments, and hold landlords responsible for housing violations. Another important objective is to push for efficient housing instead of overpriced amenities.
It is true that the University is in a housing crunch, and maybe most of the recently suggested solutions will not be very effective. However, it is imperative that people start working together to find room for students to live. The University cannot afford to lose potential students to inconvenience and impracticality.
Lelan Bosch is a third-year student. Send comments to [email protected]