TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – As students return to classes for the fall, the University of Alabama is facing a new challenge. In 2012, a new dorm provided nearly 1,000 beds for the increasing student population. In 2014, another new dorm will provide 850 additional beds.
However this fall, housing officials are dealing with what will likely be a significant increase in enrollment, and the same 7,800 beds they had last year.
Essentially, UA dorms are bursting at the seams. Housing officials say because freshman are required to live on campus, they are given priority. Sophomores are the next in line, but sometimes upperclassmen have to be turned away.
Luckily for those upperclassmen, off campus student housing is booming.
There are plenty of options, price points and amenities. However, that’s not exactly a good thing for the city of Tuscaloosa. On Wednesday, a task force for off campus student housing met to discuss the possibility of an off campus housing bubble.
There is some concern from Mayor Walt Maddox and the Tuscaloosa City Council that the number of units available in Tuscaloosa outweigh the demand.
Some task force members say they’ve spoken with local apartment complexes that are only filled to 80 percent occupancy. There are even more complexes currently under construction, or with plans to locate in Tuscaloosa. One worry is that if there is a surplus of student housing, those communities could become areas of blight, which is something city leaders have seen happen in similar, past situations.