UVM planning major housing expansion on Trinity campus

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:28 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - As the housing crisis continues in Burlington, the city and University of Vermont are looking to get more students to live on campus. Officials are now planning housing for hundreds of students on the Trinity Campus with construction starting as soon as spring of next year.

“Personally, I’m going to be an RA next year. Partly, because it’s easier to be an RA than to get housing and find housing -- because it is very hard,” said Justin Lista, a UVM sophomore. He says students have to plan up to a year in advance if they are trying to secure off-campus housing, which is why he is excited about the possibility of more on-campus options.

“We’re hoping to contribute to the overall city goal of increasing housing, and by doing this we think we are doing our part,” said Richard Cate, vice president of finance at UVM.

The university is planning two projects on the Trinity Campus, which was purchased in the early 2000s. One project would be 120 units of suite-living for graduate students and another 350 to 400 beds of dorm-living for undergraduates. But to get it done, Cate says city zoning rules need to change. “Just the opportunity to bring about a change that I think we need and to maximize the use of this campus. I think it’s underutilized right now and with the zoning changes, I think we could get the benefit out of it for the community of students,” he said.

The mayor has committed to help in the rezoning effort. It’s part of his newly announced 10-point housing action plan. Along with new housing at Trinity, Cate hopes they can use this to move students around to renovate existing dorms. “We just want to have good quality housing for our students so that they can learn well,” he said.

Students we spoke with Friday say more on-campus housing is overdue. “Finding housing off campus can be a difficult process because a lot of people get started super early and even sign leases before the end of the fall semester. So, it might just be a lot easier for grad students and upperclassmen to have that option of extra housing because housing is not guaranteed for juniors and seniors,” said Chris Gencarelli, a UVM senior.

“I would love more housing here, especially updated housing. I live in one of the back five buildings and they definitely need a lot of updating and it would be very appreciated by the students that are living in them,” Lista said.

Cate says he hopes to meet with the city’s planning commission soon, because that needs to happen before UVM can begin the design phase. The target date for construction would be spring 2023.

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