CAMPUS COMMON: THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

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By Jesse Trautmann

A student-geared apartment building is about to open, but not all students will be able to move in.

Campus Common, a new 12-storey apartment complex on the corner of Church and Gerrard Streets, will open its doors to students and other interested residents this Thursday.

But leases at Campus Common last for 12 months, meaning that first-year students wishing to avoid paying rent over the summer months are still better off signing a rez housing contract.

This is particularly problematic for students who live outside the province and aren’t interested in paying for an apartment they won’t use.

Ashley Allan, a first-year new media student, got excited when she heard about the shiny new alternative to her boxlike room in Pitman Hall.

But Allen gave up on any plans of moving into Campus Common because she needs an eight-month lease so she is free to return home to British Columbia over the summer.

Andrew Veccioli, a second-year radio and television arts student, isn’t impressed by the building’s fancy coat of paint.

“They look nice from the outside but who knows how crap they actually are [on the inside],” he said.

“I’d bet they’re just as basic as Pitman, only new. I’d rather live in an apartment with a bunch of friends.”

There has been significant interest in the building on the part of students, however.

Macie Peister, a first-year sociology student who lives in Pitman Hall has already checked out the web site for the new building and is looking into living there next year.

She said one major reason she would be interested in off-campus housing is that she “wouldn’t be forced to go home over the Christmas break when Pitman closes.”

Peister likes the 12-month lease, which saves her from having to move home for the summer, she said, adding that staying in Toronto would make it easier for her to get a job and create a more stable living situation than an eight-month lease provides.

Other factors affecting students wishing to switch from residence to Campus Common are price and space.

Pitman’s single rooms are 90 square feet in surface area, while a standard studio at Campus Common is 330 sq. ft.

At 247 sq. ft., this is a huge difference.

Notably, Pitman singles also don’t have en-suite facilities like a kitchen and a private bathroom.

There is also a considerable month-to-month price differential between the two buildings. The rent for a double at the new building is $765 per month while a Pitman double costs $1,030.

Residence fees at Pitman include costs for student essentials such as internet access, a meal plan and a telephone line. Students living anywhere off-campus, of course, must pick up the tab for these essentials.

The on-site rental office will be open in November for students wishing to view the apartments, said a representative of DMS Property Management, the company managing the building.

Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said that some businesspeople had been looking at converting the Bond Street Hotel into student housing.

He said it’s easier for the private sector to build than the school.

Messages left with Glen Weppler, manager of student residences, were not returned.

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