McMaster to build off-campus grad student housing

McMaster University wants to build 300 to 500 grad student units somewhere within a 30-minute commute of campus and is looking for private partners to help.

University request seeks partners to build 300 to 500 grad student apartments

A tribunal comprised of three McMaster professors said that a group of six faculty members were found to have broken the university's anti-discrimination policy. (Terry Asma/CBC)

McMaster University wants to make finding housing easier for its more than 4,000 graduate students.

The university posted an announcement Thursday looking for a private partner for an off-campus housing complex for 300 to 500 grad students.

While the university already operates 12 undergrad residences with 3,600 beds, this would be the first off-campus and the first graduate residence.​

The building would be a joint project between the developer and the university, and the project could use the McMaster name, like "McMaster Graduate Student Residence." 

It's an acknowledgment that the university's current housing offerings don't quite fit the grad student bill. 

"Some have partners living with them, in some cases they have children," said Gord Arbeau, director of public and community relations at McMaster. "They're looking for larger accommodations, for in-unit kitchens, food prep areas." 

And grad students are "less inclined to want to be on-campus," Arbeau said.

The university wants the project to be within a 30-minute car or transit commute of the campus, and within walking distance to parks and green space. The project would have to be off-campus, but the university would consider buying the land.

In 2013, the university polled 700 grad students on their preferences for housing. Here are their top five needs: 

  • high speed internet
  • in-house laundry
  • wireless internet
  • cooking facilities in each unit
  • proximity or ease of travel to campus

The developer would need to offer the apartments — likely a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units — at rental rates that are comparable to downtown Hamilton. But beyond that, the university is open to suggestions. 

The request for proposals also indicated the university would be open to hearing separate ideas for undergrad housing, too.

The deadline for potential partners to submit paperwork to the school to be qualified is Oct. 9.