Move-in day at The Vista, Turlock’s newest student housing option, is still a month away, but the apartment complex is nearly at full capacity. Such is the case with other complexes surrounding Stanislaus State, with more students opting to forgo dorm life for a taste of the real world.
“A lot of times, students don’t want to be where there are only other students,” said Briarwood Apartments manager Jessika McKinney.
Briarwood’s proximity to the university campus, while still giving students time away from the hustle and bustle of college life, makes the apartment complex an ideal choice for many Warriors, she added.
“I’ve heard students say that the dorms can get crazy, and they like being a little further away from that,” said McKinney.
Briarwood is currently at full capacity, and another one of Stanislaus State’s neighboring apartment complexes, Boardwalk Apartments, is at 95 percent occupancy. According to McKinney, The Vista’s construction across the street from the university has not directly affected resident applications at Briarwood, and a representative from Boardwalk stated that students have in fact come from The Vista to enquire about Boardwalk’s vacancy.
Hailey Cordeiro, who is transferring to Stanislaus State in the fall, ended up leasing an apartment at The Vista after discovering there were no available units at apartment complexes closest to the university.
“There were other options around town, but ultimately I wanted to remain close to campus,” she said.
The Vista offers leases for individual rooms that are part of a larger floor plan for students like Cordeiro, who may need their own living space but cannot afford to lease a single bedroom apartment. According to The Vista’s New Lease-Up Specialist Courtney Jurasko, only a handful of three and four bedrooms are still available at the student housing complex, where individual lease holders are placed together in a multiple-bedroom dwelling.
To compete with other housing, like the university dorms and surrounding apartment complexes, The Vista keeps the cost of living below that of residing on campus.
“Prices come in well under the cost of living on campus, and for students living on a budget, that is a huge value since our utilities are included and the apartments are fully furnished and brand new,” said Jurasko.
Despite The Vista’s affordable prices, Jurasko does not believe the complex’s construction has affected other apartment complexes’ ability to attract tenants.
“I think that there is a shortage of housing in Turlock,” said Jurasko. “What we pride ourselves on at The Vista is being the option for students whose primary concerns are their academic career, living affordably and conveniently.”
Despite not affecting the capacity of surrounding apartment complexes, the dorms at Stanislaus State have seen a slight decline in residents since The Vista took shape. Currently, the dorms are at 92.3 percent capacity – down seven percent from this time last year when the university was at 100 percent capacity, said the school’s Director of Housing and Residential Life Jennifer Humphrey. Whether or not The Vista has something to do with that decline is uncertain.
“I think it has affected us in the same way any off-campus facility would affect us,” said Humphrey. “We usually look at competition in the community, as well as university enrollment, to determine the reason for any drop in numbers.”
For the fall 2016 semester, 88 percent of the Stanislaus State dorm residents moved to Turlock for school from over 30 miles away, while in the fall 2017 semester, 90 percent of students moved in from out of town.
According to Humphrey, students that choose to live in the dorms when they move to Turlock often feel a stronger sense of belonging to the campus than those who live off campus. Home to over 700 students, the dorms offer many of the same amenities as The Vista, like swimming pools, sporting courts and a lounge, while also making supportive services available.
One in three members of the dorm community achieved the University Dean’s List during the fall 2016 semester, she added, and 58 percent earned GPAs of 3.0 or higher thanks to the academic support provided in the housing department.
“We do keep track of data to check and make sure our programming is effective. We focus on a sense of belonging as well as connecting them to the campus and other students,” said Humphrey. “I think it’s good that students have choices, but obviously I believe in what we do.”