Utah Tech’s plan for student housing in soaring St. George’s real estate market

The university will break ground on a $70 million high-rise for students.

(Utah Tech University) A rendering of a Campus View Suites Phase III, new student dorms on the campus of Utah Tech University. The 500 student beds are slated to be completed by 2025.

St. George • Rapidly expanding enrollment at Utah Tech University is increasing the need for student housing, but the institution of higher learning is striving to rise to the challenge.

On Feb. 9, the university will break ground on Campus View Suites III, a $70 million, five-floor high-rise that will dramatically increase on-campus housing options for students. When the 164,000-square-foot dorm is completed in fall of 2024, it will add 564 beds to the student-housing area on the northeast side of campus. It will complement the two existing Campus View Suites.

Erected in 2016, Campus View Suites I featured 364 beds. That total was increased by another 534 beds with the construction of Campus View II in 2021. University officials say the new dorm will complete the Campus View trifecta and will enable more students to live on campus and in closer proximity to their classes and student activities.

“We are very excited to begin the third phase of Campus View Suites,” Seth Gubler, university director of housing and resident life, said. “With its completion, more students will be able to live on campus and experience the programming, amenities and resources provided by the university.”

University alumnus Mike Hill likes the campus’ new look.

“With all the new construction taking place every year, the campus more resembles the quality university that it is becoming rather than just a large high school,” the St. George resident said. “I think I speak for most people in the community when I say it has been exhilarating to watch the university’s growth and progress.”

As exciting as the university’s more urbane look may be, Utah Tech officials say the new buildings are more about necessity than aesthetics. Enrollment at the university currently stands at 12,556, up 50% from the 2014 fall semester, when the institution welcomed 8,341 new students to campus.

And with enrollment projected to reach 16,000 by 2025 and grow between 4,000 and 8,000 every five years thereafter, the need for more student housing, buildings and other infrastructure will only increase.

“When you look at projections, it’s possible that we will reach that point to where we won’t be able to accommodate all the students who want to come here,” Gubler said.

Campus View Suites are not Utah Tech’s only options for student housing. Gubler said the university has three other buildings designated as on-campus housing for single male and female students, even though they range in distance from across the street to one mile away from the university.

The University Inn, which is located the furthest away, houses 44 single students in their own private rooms. Chancellor Apartments, one block north of campus, houses 30 students in a mixture of private and shared spaces. Abby Inn, across from the campus softball field, accommodates 90 students in a mixture of private and shared rooms.

Finally, the university owns 19 apartments it rents to married students or single parents with families. In addition, there are 15 privately owned apartments that specialize in renting to students and are located within a few blocks of campus.

Joseph Gee, a secondary English education major from Nampa, Idaho, enjoys his private room and bathroom at University Inn.

“The [inn] has a nice atmosphere. It’s definitely not a party atmosphere,” said Gee, adding the closest thing to a party is the ruckus caused on occasion when steam from the shower or the heat trigger multiple fire alarms.

Aside from their proximity to the university, a major benefit of on-campus housing for singles is that the students don’t have to worry about paying for utilities or the internet. Married or single parents are required to pay for electricity, internet and trash removal.

Cost can also be a benefit of on-campus housing. Gee said the average cost of student housing over the course of a semester, roughly four months, mirrors that for off-campus living. In some cases, he added, it can be considerably less.

“For example, the average cost of a private room on campus for a semester this year is $2,280, and the off-campus average is $2,808,” he said.

Cost is important, but public safety is paramount to Mary Davis, who hails from Salt Lake City and shares a student apartment with Marianna Lewis of Stockton, California.

“It’s way better than being off-campus because we are living in a nice new building and I feel like it is safer,” Davis said. “I see campus police patrolling at night and it is comforting to know they are there.”

Once it is finished, Campus View Suites III will represent a significant upgrade over other on-campus housing. Among other things, it will include a first-floor grocery store stocked with fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products. It will also sport extra storage space and shared private and group study rooms, according to university officials.