March 8, 2017
Writer: Dale Spaulding
Hemming Village will finish the new Cedars Apartment complex next year in Rexburg. This is a godsend to students who have been unsuccessful in finding housing during their time at BYU-Idaho.
Students on BYU-Idaho's campus often feel the stress of Rexburg's "housing dash," where students and families scramble to get a spot to live each semester. Whether it's word-of-mouth, an online Facebook page, or wait lists, they say it often feels like if you're not hunched over your laptop, or on the phone with someone, you may miss your "golden opportunity."
But the construction across from the University Athletic Stadium holds promise for those seeking a new place to live next year. The Hemming Corporation, the parent company of Hemming Village, has been mulling over the needs of student housing and how they can use their property for the University's benefit.
Richie Webb is the president of Hemming Corporation. I spoke with him about his thoughts on the needs of campus. "As we put all of that together, assessing the needs, looking at the future, we felt like it made sense to remove the 114 beds that we had at the old Cedars, and be able to come back with a project that will bring 450 beds for student housing."
He says they also demolished some homes Hemming Village rented out.
"Now we're going to have retail, and office, and some married housing. We'll have 53 units of married housing."
That's an exciting thought for families who want to learn and study on campus, but it's still only a start. Based on the statistics from BYU-Idaho for the Winter 2017 semester there are 18,065 students on campus. That's an increase of 2.0 percent from last Winter.
According to Rexburg Housing projections, by the year 2021, students enrolled could grow to more than 23,000.
Rob Garrett is answering my follow-up questions. "The housing office does a really good job at sharing those projections with housing owners and future developers that might be interested." Garrett is the Vice President for Executive Strategy and Planning at BYU-Idaho. He says the normal course of action at BYU-Idaho for student growth is to reach out to privately owned construction companies for help, like Hemming Corporation.
"There is an opportunity for us to serve more students, there is an opportunity for us to grow, and I truly believe because of what we're uniquely about in focusing on the students, that it really does make a difference in the lives of students, their families and the church."
Garrett says there are no new on-campus housing projects planned at this time.
BYU-Idaho opened its new Centre Square apartments in 2015. It has 850 beds in its three buildings.
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