A new residence is popping up at the University of Regina and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Its construction has put a major dent in parking, taking up two lots for the first month of school - and leaving some students wondering if the project will be worth it in the long run.

 

The building, consisting of two 13-storey towers and two five-storey wings, seems to have everyone talking. While some students say living on campus is a great experience, former College West resident Daryl Weibe is concerned about building maintenance.

 

Wiebe lived in the College West Residence for both her second and third years at the University of Regina. “My first year was really good,” said Wiebe. “My second year was not good at all.”

 

Wiebe said living there seemed like a good way to get to know people, and without a vehicle it would also be convenient. The first year everything went well, she said, but the second was completely different.

 

“It was dirty when we moved in and they wouldn’t come and clean it,” she said. “When they did come clean it, it wasn’t very good.”

 

“You’d fill out more maintenance reports and more maintenance reports which led to a meeting and it still took them until after Christmas to fix the problem.”

 

The problem: black mold in her bathroom. The eventual solution was a dab of silicone to cover it up.

 

Wiebe took her initial maintenance request to the residence advisors, which led to a meeting in the residence office. When nothing was done she called public health and safety. After they taught her how to clean the black mold herself, she was told that she wasn’t allowed to use the strong cleaners in the residence.

 

Having allergies to mold meant Wiebe's health soon took a nosedive. Still, she said, there was no way around it.

 

“It was a losing battle for a student who has no time,” she said. “It’s so much stress on top of school.”

 

“I don’t live on campus this year; I wouldn’t want to.”

 

The new residence was a questionable choice by the university according to Wiebe. “I just feel like they should’ve fixed the first one before they spent their money building a new one,” she said.

 

Wiebe said you won’t likely see her telling people to sign up to live there.

 

“You meet tons of new people and it is a great experience it’s just too bad my second one was so negative,” she said. “If I recommended to a first year, or anyone for that matter, ‘go live in residence, it’s great’, and then they end up with the same experience as me I would feel awful. So I just wouldn’t do that.”

 

Aleah Willner lived in residence for two years as well but had a different experience.

 

“It was a way to meet new people,” she said, and the best part: convenience. “You could roll out of bed and go to class.”

 

She said the new building will likely seem like a better plan once its done. “It’s a good idea to have more people on campus but it sucks for parking,” she said.

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Willner would, in contrast, recommend living on campus.

 

“First years…I would say yeah, live in res, you can meet people. But after that it just doesn’t seem as fun.”

 

Alyssa Doer is a first year education student living in South Residence this year.

 

“I figured it would be a good way to meet different people,” she said. “I like it.”

 

“It’s easy because you don’t have to worry about parking or anything, just easy to walk to class.”

 

Neil Paskewitz, director of planning design and construction with facilities management, said they’re hoping many first years will want to take advantage of the new buildings 605 new spots when it opens next fall.

 

“First year students are to be guaranteed, I believe, a spot in residence,” he said. “We really want to make it welcoming for students.”

 

“Really, the best place for you to be in first year is on campus.”

 

To address the new parking dilemmas, they’re also adding 150 stalls of underground parking. Lastly, a new daycare with 90 spots will also be in the addition.

 

“The overall strategy for our campus here is to get more housing on campus,” he said. “The ideal seems to be about 20 per cent, so if you do the math for ours that’s roughly about a capacity of 2,800.”

 

He said the university is currently able to give housing to 1,200 students.

 

The “ultimate plan” according to Paskewitz is to have four buildings completed which will fully occupy lots two and three.

 

“The rest of the buildings would take us right up to that 2,800 capacity,” said Paskewitz.

 

He said the possible construction of the other three phases is based on how quickly the new one fills up and the waiting list to get in to residence.

 

The total budget for the first building has been set at $83 million.

 

Paskewitz said the decision to build followed a number of years of consecutive growth. Still, he said the old residences will continue to be used, even College West.

 

“It sort of depends on what the preference of the student is,” he said. “The configuration of College West, the size of it and the room sharing, is still pretty popular.”

 

“Having said that, it’s an old building and it needs a lot of stuff. It does need some renewal.”

 

An “ongoing plan” to update the building is in place, he said.

 

And as far as parking goes, Paskewitz agrees it isn’t ideal.

 

“I sympathize,” he said. “During any construction the transition hurts because it’s either access to get in and out of the campus or availability of parking because you’re doing this.”