UVM breaks ground on new housing for faculty, staff, students

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - More housing is in the works for University of Vermont faculty, staff and students. The groundbreaking in South Burlington Wednesday is the university’s latest solution to its housing struggles.

“UVM has been aware of the significant need for housing that is close to campus,” said Suresh Garimella, the president of UVM.

The University of Vermont is addressing its housing issues by building its own. Once complete, Catamount Run will add more than 550 total beds to the university’s housing inventory.

“With the housing market having gotten so much more challenging in recent years, we’ve accelerated our hunt for options to alleviate some of the pressure on the housing market and on our newly hired faculty and staff who move here from other areas,” Garimella said.

Located in South Burlington’s City Center, Catamount Run is the latest housing development for university affiliates to go up in South Burlington.

Last December, the UVM Health Network broke ground on two housing projects, adding more than 180 units for UVM Health Network staff in the area.

South Burlington city officials say they agree with the idea of the university stepping up to do their part to ease the housing shortage.

“I think that it’s important for an institution or a business, a big business-like university to really attend to their needs and be proactive about that versus just complaining or saying, well, we can’t hire people because there’s no place to live, and then sit there and wait for someone to build it,” said Helen Riehle, the chair of the South Burlington City Council.

Riehle says the additional units could be a big boost to the local housing market and the economy.

“They’ll go to school here, they’ll purchase their food here. They will shop... it’s a huge stimulus,” she said.

Developers say they hope the project serves as an inspiration for other groups or businesses whose staff are also having a hard time finding places to live.

“We all know that our state or region and our community is facing a lot of challenges on the housing front. I think this project really represents that there’s one key ingredient for a path forward and that’s working together,” developer Chris Snyder said.

Phase 1 of the project will involve the completion of around half of the 295 units by the summer of 2024. The rest are expected to be finished and ready for occupancy by the fall of 2025.

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