Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Womack Lane Apartments to be torn down: Combatting the Campus housing crisis for Students to come


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Story by Ethan Pickering | Lifestyles Editor and Destiny Mizell | Assistant Lifestyles Editor

Womack Lane Apartments are on the list to be demolished to make room for more updated student housing on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus. 

While this project is still in the discussion phase, and other updates will be done to the campus in the interim, Womack Lane will most likely be demolished in the next few years. 

“This project will house more students than what is currently provided by the Womack Lane apartments,” said Assistant VP of Campus Planning Bill Waits.

While roughly three years from now more students will be able to live on campus, around 300 students seeking apartment-style housing will be displaced in the meantime. This semester alone left many students struggling to find both on-campus and off-campus housing in general with extensive waitlists. The only other apartment-style housing on campus is Scarlett Commons. 

Womack Lane Apartments are the only housing option for students with families. These apartment-style dorms were home to the only childcare facility on campus, the MTSU Day Care Center, which has recently closed this past December due to COVID-19 and staffing issues.

The day care center at Womack Lane

“We will not have family housing as an option when Womack Lane goes away – at least that is not the plan. We only have 12 apartments left of Family Housing at this point,” said Director of Housing at MTSU, Michelle Safewright.

There are no notes of any kind of daycare facility on the 2016 campus masterplan, so family on-campus housing is surely to be effected by these demolitions. 

“A financial feasibility study is currently underway for the first phase. If construction is feasible within the budget constraints, project completion is estimated in 2025,” said Waits. 

On-campus housing has been a controversial topic since MTSU was founded, and the rate of students living on campus has dropped in recent years, possibly contributed to COVID-19 and a drop in general college attendance by Tennesseans over the past few years, a study from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission shows

Apartment style dorms are always more sought after yearly because of their space and individual rooms. The new student housing being built will be a more updated style of student apartments.  

“We are looking at more of a traditional style building with either a pod or suite style building with mainly double occupancy rooms and limited single occupancy rooms.” said Director Safewright.

“We are wanting to be able to serve as many students as we can, but are also looking at more options that will give students more privacy than the current community style bathrooms that we have in our buildings,” said Safewright. 

Vice President for Student Affairs, Debra Sells, also mentioned the future plans for Womack Lane Apartments along with some other updated construction information in a Student Government Association Senate meeting on Sept. 8. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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