Displayed in the office of University Housing is the motto “Building Communities, Building Futures.” But for the Temple community, there is no future for students living at Presidential City.
In its fourth year, Temple’s university-sponsored lease of 160 units currently houses 467 students. But because of recent policy changes concerning housing, Temple’s lease with Presidential City will expire on June 30, 2004 – and will not be renewed.
“We received official notice today [March 19, 2004] by certified mail and also by fax that Presidential City will no longer be housing Temple next year,” said Kathy Rossi, Property Manager at Presidential. “They are going to terminate their lease, and they gave us a 90-day notice today.”
With the termination of the lease, it is probable Temple students will not only lose housing, but also access to an open computer lab. Even though no plans have been finalized between the administration and Presidential City, Rossi has heard from sources that shuttle services are likely to cease as well.
This could greatly impact students like Michele Germain, a junior who transferred to Temple in the fall from Queens, NY. Germain, who currently lives in the Madison building at Presidential City, is new to Philadelphia and does not have a computer or a car on campus.
“Basically my main transportation is the shuttle bus,” Germain said. “I take it every day. It’s convenient to use the shuttle, it’s right there, it’s free and it runs 24 hours.”
Germain now faces the prospect of finding housing as well as a mode of transportation after accepting the fact that it is likely shuttle services will not be provided.
“It’s going to be hard because now I’m going to have to find an apartment on my own,” Germain said. “It also means that most likely I’ll have to get a car because it’s going to be too much money to pay for public transportation.”
Dr. Theresa Powell, Vice President of Student Affairs, has urged students who will be out of housing next year to take advantage of the private developers in and around Main campus in order to benefit from a close proximity. Citing the upcoming Tyler School of Art move as well as construction and renovation to various buildings in the upcoming months, according to Powell, Main campus is the “place to be.”
“But we simply to do not have the space for everybody,” Powell said. “We had to decide what students would we make every effort to accommodate; that’s why the decision was made. It wasn’t made to run juniors and seniors away or to disadvantage them in any way.”
Dr. Powell mentioned that notification would be given to all admitted students as well as rising freshmen that they will not be guaranteed housing as upperclassmen. She hopes that more students will then view the move off campus as less of a hassle and more of a “rite of passage.”
“Our reason behind the decision to guarantee housing to freshmen and sophomores was a sound one,” Dr. Powell said. “We felt as if they [underclassmen] needed more structure, more supervision. For many of them this is their first time away from home and to come to a city and not have a place to live, and it’s your first time here, it could be pretty frightening.”
For those students living at Presidential who no longer have university-sponsored housing as a fallback, Jodi Alkis, Leasing and Marketing Director at Presidential City assures that discounted rates will still be offered to students who are leasing independently.
“Anybody who isn’t getting housing through the university, we welcome them here, we would love to have them here,” Alkis said.
Brandon Lausch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.