Seven weeks before the deadline to leave University Terrace Apartments so the complex can be demolished, all but 10 students and their families have moved out or worked out other housing arrangements.
University Terrace, a 132-unit complex that houses graduate, professional and married students — including many international students with families — is scheduled to be torn down this summer to make room for a University Hospital parking garage. Residents must be out of their apartments by June 30.
Of the 101 residents at University Terrace when its closing was first announced last year, 52 are transferring to other MU-owned apartments, and 43 have secured housing off campus, said Frankie Minor, director of Residential Life at MU.
“We’ve tried our best to stay in contact with these students and residents to make sure they know what their options are,” Minor said. “We’ve contacted them with any updated information and offered staff, boxes and curb-to-curb service to assist them with the moving process.”
When MU announced the closing of the apartment complex last year, residents were expected to vacate by December. But the date was moved to June after former UM System President Elson Floyd appealed to University Hospital CEO Jim Ross to extend the deadline because residents with children did not want their children changing schools in the middle of the year.
University Terrace buildings manager Merve Akova, a graduate nursing student at MU, said that most residents are satisfied with how MU responded to residents’ concerns. Akova said she has helped many people move to other MU facilities, such as University Heights, University Village and Manor House, in hopes of establishing the same kind of community they had at University Terrace.
She said small communities are already forming at University Heights as more student-parents and other graduate-level residents move in.
“We’re already planning on having some of the same types of programs we had at Terrace at the other residence facilities,” Akova said.
After announcing that University Terrace would close, MU officials were concerned about the availability of housing for incoming nontraditional students, Minor said. But MU’s acquisition of Tara Apartments on Ashland Road in December has helped alleviate those concerns, Minor said, even though units at Tara Apartments are significantly more expensive than at University Terrace. A two-bedroom apartment at University Terrace costs about $370 a month; a two-bedroom at Tara is quoted at $485 to $555, depending on amenities.
“We know our students are very price sensitive,” Minor said, “but Terrace and Tara do not make an apples-to-apples comparison. You get more space and amenities for the price difference.”
Luis Vicente, a postdoctoral resident from Puerto Rico, said he was upset with MU’s decision to close University Terrace. But he said Residential Life officials kept in touch with him and helped him when he and his wife and 9-year-old daughter moved to University Village last July.
“They are a bit smaller and a bit older,” he said, “but the environment is prettier, and the location is excellent.”