Carleton University looks at private student housing

Carleton University is looking to build a new privately run student residence, its first ever, by 2016 with more than 400 beds for upper-year students.

School has high wait list for on-campus housing, mostly upper-year students miss out

A new privately run student residence building could be built on a current garden patch at Carleton University. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Carleton University is looking to build a privately run student residence to keep up with the rising demand for on-campus housing.

The school is looking for interest in a new building that would house between 400 and 500 beds and be built just north of the Leeds House building.

The residence, which would be built on a small parking lot, would cater to upper-year students, as first-year students would not be offered accommodations.

It could be complete by the beginning of the 2016-17 school year but currently, the university is releasing a document that will search for interest, then they will evaluate the interest and ask for proposals.

Darryl Boyce, assistant vice-president of facilities management and planning at Carleton, says the school feels its time to evaluate whether a private company wants to run one of its student residence buildings. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Darryl Boyce, the school's vice-president of facilities management and planning, said it is very early in the process but the university could lease the land for up to 50 years.

It would be the first residence on campus built and maintained by a private builder. Boyce said Carleton would have to pay interest on a long-term mortgage if they built the residence themselves.

"There are really good organizations that are managing these and it reduces your debt load," Boyce said.

"They feel they can do it, do it effectively and there would be additional value to the university in terms of the land lease."

Hope to reduce wait list

The lease could also generate income for the school, he said, but the main goal is to shrink the wait list for on-campus housing.

The wait list for this upcoming school year is about 600 students who can't be accommodated. Most of those people are in upper years, Boyce said.

Carleton's student association said it supports different and possibly more affordable ways of funding new student living that might help limit the rising costs for post-secondary tuition and other living for students.

"Carleton University's decision to explore alternative options for creating more living space for our growing community is indicative of our institution's commitment to be as innovative as it can possibly be in today's competitive environment," wrote CUSA president Alexander Golovko in an email statement to CBC News.