By SAMANTHA BELCHER, News Editor
Just over a year ago, the university announced its plans to build student housing across the street from its main campus on Evergreen Road in front of the Fairlane Town Center. According to The Detroit Free Press, Urban Campus Communities, a private developer, purchased the 12.5-acre property.
Urban Campus Communities (UCC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 21, 2013, eleven days before the complex opened. In attendance were UCC officials, Student Government President Wedad Ibrahim, Chancellor Daniel Little, Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly, and UM-Dearborn alumnus and State Representative David Knezek.
“It’s great to be back to my alma mater to celebrate this giant leap forward for UM-Dearborn,” Knezek said.
UM-Dearborn students from various organizations helped move people into the newly finished apartments on September 1st. According to UM-Dearborn, about 400 people moved into The Union with the help of 35 student volunteers.
“I decided to live in The Union because I liked the convenience and how close it was to school…” said Courtney Ford, UM-Dearborn student and The Union resident. “I really wanted to live with my friends and get a better college experience.”
The 145 apartments are UM-Dearborn’s first student housing since the 1970s. Students can enjoy The Union’s amenities including a performance theater, fitness room, courtyards, meeting rooms, and The Victor’s Den, UM-Dearborn’s leased space. The Union contains one-, two-, three- , and four- bedroom apartments that include living and kitchen spaces along with fully furnished rooms, appliances, and a flat screen TV. Monthly rates are set between $645 and $775 per person.
“It’s (The Union) a great space to have meetings and hang out,” Ford said.
Ford added that she lives with three other women who she knew before moving into The Union. They live in a 4×4 apartment so each student has her own bedroom and bathroom.
“By offering on-campus housing and new student life options, the university is reaffirming its commitment to building an inclusive campus community while strategically positioning itself to increase student enrollment in an increasingly higher education market,” Knezek added.
The City of Dearborn also installed a signaled crosswalk from The Union to UM-Dearborn’s main campus on Evergreen Road to guide students and staff. The crosswalk, an extension of the Rogue Gateway Path, will be in front of the university’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters building. Due to an MDOT grant for non-motorized transportation, a pedestrian and bike path will be constructed from The Union to the Fairlane Center South. The campus shuttle will also make a stop at The Union.
“The Union will save me time and money on my commute to UM-D since I have class four days a week…” Ford said.
According to UM-Dearborn, all students are eligible to rent an apartment including new freshman, returning, transfer, and graduate students. International students must apply for a VISA before being admitted to the university and renting from The Union. UM-Dearborn will still use Fairlane Meadows and Fairlane Woods for international student housing.
The Union was not available to comment.