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New UNLV dorms are big step toward building campus community

If UNLV’s newest campus housing looks familiar, that’s intentional.

CEO Eric Midby of Midy Properties says he wanted The Degree, a $70 million development on UNLV’s northeast corner, to look like the kind of housing students might find at Arizona State University, San Diego State University or in the Las Vegas suburbs.

“I’ve met parents who send their kids to UNR or out of state to have that campus living experience, but now they can do that while still being close to home,” Midby said.

Students already are moving into the five-story apartment building, which opened two years later than scheduled after three years of construction. The building is the largest student apartment complex in Nevada, and represents the first phase of a plan to convert existing campus housing at Legacy LV into a 3,000-bed community known as the U-District.

For now, Midby is especially excited about the parking garage. The high-density project packed a five-story garage inside the building, which not only allows students to drive their cars or bikes up to their floors, but puts residents right next to campus.

“It’s about having that connection to campus,” Midby said.

The garage anchors one side of the building, while a pool and courtyard area that Midby calls the “pièce de résistance” anchors the other. Inside, communal areas include a gym, dining and lounging spaces, as well as study nooks throughout the hallways.

The apartment-style housing is rented by the room, with prices ranging from $500 for a shared room in a two-bedroom apartment to $735 for a private room and bathroom in a four-bedroom apartment and up to $1,000 for the same in a two-bedroom apartment. Each unit is furnished, down to the TVs and built-in Wi-Fi in the living room.

Midby said he found in his research that poor internet access was one of the top complaints of students and community managers at campus housing throughout the country. Each bedroom also has a lock to address another major concern: theft.

Over 80 percent of The Degree’s 758 beds have already been leased. Move-in day is officially Aug. 22, but community manager Chad Clark says the building is open to early arrivals, some who moved in May 31.

Students can apply to live with roommates they already know, or fill out a lifestyle questionnaire that matches them with others who share their sleeping and studying habits.

The Degree was built via a public-private partnership, allowing UNLV to offer housing without having to build or operate it. The building will be managed by Asset Campus Housing, an outside property management company, but subject to UNLV’s housing rules and regulations.

UNLV’s dorm-style housing at the Dayton or Tonopah complexes costs students anywhere from $2,700 to $2,900 per semester, with a single bedroom in the Upper Class Complex building available for $3,520.

Junior Destini Wellington, who moved to The Degree last month after a stint in the dorms, said the latter are smaller and much older.

Wellington was studying in a communal space with a whiteboard wall on Wednesday with senior Nicole Pabalan, who said she appreciated the building’s proximity to campus.

“It’s a little bit more privacy,” Wellington added, “and it’s the cool amenities.”

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at 702-383-0218 or aappleton@reviewjournal.com or follow her on Twitter @aleksappleton.

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