OU’s high-end apartments have low occupancy

NORMAN, Okla. - Students at the University of Oklahoma are moving this week into student housing.

However, not many are choosing the new luxury student apartments on campus.

"Those residents halls not getting filled is a huge issue," said student Asher Nees.

The apartments give students an opportunity to live on campus but without the limitations of campus living, according to its website.

"When I saw that they were constructing them, I thought didn't they just build two great brand new ones across from Headington, yes and I don't think they can even fill those ones," Nees said.

Last fall, the campus introduced the residential colleges, Dunham and Headington apartments. The university said they were modeled after Yale.

The apartments have rates close to $4,000 for a two bedroom and more than $6,000 for a one bedroom with a bath, per semester.

"I think there's a lot more they could be doing with that money," Nees said.

The apartments are only 70 percent filled - a waste of money, according to some students.

"It's just more money that the university has to spend on building it, not really worth it in my opinion," said Kristen Clason.

The newest apartment, Cross, is only 28 percent occupied.

"They can funnel it back into scholarships, they can start programs for inclusion, diversity things like that," Nees said.

While Clason said it can go toward renovations, "renovating any other part of the campus that might be a little older like Kate, which is a really old living facility on campus."

OU Spokesperson Erin Yarbrough sent News 4 this statement below:

"The University engaged outside consultants to evaluate and analyze the housing needs at the University of Oklahoma in connection with the University’s strategic goals. Cross was a result of those discussions with the outside consultants, and fit within the strategic housing goals as determined by the University.

The University continues to be supportive of the Cross Housing Project and excited by the opportunities it can bring to the campus community. The Cross Development Project was created through a public-private partnership with Provident Oklahoma Education Resources, a nonprofit corporation. This is a debt-financed financial transaction, which means the University has no financial obligation on the bonds that were issued, and the bonds are payable solely from the revenues generated from the Cross Housing Project. The University has agreed to market the Cross Housing Project as part of its on-campus university housing options on equal footing with its other on-campus housing projects, and to provide a variety of retail, food, and other commercial experiences for Cross under a variety of agreements. These include a Lululemon, a cycling and yoga studio, a locally-owned coffee shop, and a variety of eating options. Any questions concerning occupancy should be directed to Provident, the project owner, or Balfour Beatty, the property manager. The University continues to coordinate with Provident and Balfour to ensure upper class students know Cross is a housing option."