By Tala Alsharif
Youngstown State University will be taking over the management of the University Courtyard Apartments starting Oct. 1.
According to Executive Director for Student Experience and Residence Life, Erin Driscoll, one of the reasons for the change is because the university wants to add a twelve-month contract option to students alongside their current housing options that offer academic-year contracts.
“We saw this as an opportunity to really expand what the university will directly be able to offer students,” Driscoll said.
Additionally, taking over direct management eliminates the annual fee paid to the outgoing management company, RISE.
“This change will really just help us have a direct role in managing the facilities,” Driscoll said. “It will make it more financially responsible … for the university to use our resources instead of paying a separate company to do it. We’ll be able to pay employees and take care of facilities through [the] university budget.”
Driscoll explained the university had no concerns with RISE and will retain the ten employees as YSU employees.
“The staff that were already working through RISE applied to YSU … five full-time staff members will now be university employees and then there are five student-staff members that will now be hired by the university as well,” Driscoll said.
The university works closely with the existing staff at the Courtyards and meets regularly with the apartment manager, who is involved with YSU committees.
General manager, Marissa Liposhak, said the Courtyards will be partnered with University Housing and use the same housing applications and processes.
According to Driscoll, the transition will be smooth and minimally disruptive to residents.
“Their leases will be maintained for the academic year, so they won’t need to sign new leases with us and the billing will continue to happen through their student account,” Driscoll said.
Driscoll said rental rates at the Courtyards are going to increase minimally.
The board of trustees approves rental rates for the courtyards, since they are owned by the university, despite a separate company’s management.
Driscoll said the Courtyards are in the process of submitting next year’s rates to the board of trustees and the change in rental rates will be close to how it has been in previous years.
Rates fluctuate based on demand and will be increased by around $15 a month, Liposhak said.
Next year, students will be provided with a $50 sampler meal plan.
“The Courtyard residents will also be going to receive a $50 sampler meal plan to showcase the meal plan options on campus that are available to the Courtyard residents and [that will] be a first,” Liposhak said.
The university is not anticipating major changes in the initial phase. Down the road, it hopes to offer student residents more flexibility when they sign a 12-month lease.
“We know that some students might end up graduating mid-year, transfer to another school or take a break from school,” Driscoll said. “Our hope is that we can help some of those students find other students who need to sublet and help the university by still keeping those beds full and vibrant.“
To stay informed about the University Courtyard Apartments, visit their website. To ask questions about changes or updates, visit the Office of Housing and Residence Life or the main housing office located on the first floor of Kilcawley House.