University Village residents upset over planned demolition

Mar 14, 2014

University Village Apartments
Credit Miranda Metheny / KBIA

Residents of the University Village apartment complex are upset over the news that the apartments will be closed June 30 and demolished. 

The University of Missouri announced Wednesday the University Village apartments will be closing this summer. This comes two and a half weeks after a walkway collapsed, forcing the evacuation of many residents and causing the death of responding firefighter Bruce Britt on Feb. 22. 

The University Village apartments are reserved for students with families, graduate students and students over 21. The complex is also the home of the Student Parent Center, a daycare for children of University students and staff.  Residents are frustrated with the short notice they have been given to try to find alternate housing before the complex closes at the end of June. 

Resident Sierra Brickey is in a particularly difficult spot. 

“It’s very hard because I have to find a place to live in three months if I don’t choose to live with the university anymore and I am six and a half months pregnant,” Brickey said.

Residents have until June 30 to find other living arrangements but they can terminate their lease at any time prior to that without penalty.

Even though the residents can stay, not all of them are.  Wen Wen, a student graduating in May and unaffected by the decision to close the apartments has seen people leaving for safety concerns. 

“Now a lot of people are very worried about safety and then their kids at the day care," Wen said. "I just seem to see some moving trucks around the place maybe a couple of weeks ago.”

Residents are also upset that they have to look for a place to live while being full time students.  Haider Arwzwazy, an international student from Iraq, doesn’t know where he will find time to search for housing while also balancing classes and exams. 

“I make contract with the University about 1 year," Arwzwazy said. "University cut the contract to tell me just six months.  This not a good way to told another student you must search another place, I don’t care about you.”

MU doesn’t currently have any plans to build more housing.  University spokesperson Christian Basi says the university will analyze the needs of the entire student body in terms of housing and in relation to the Columbia rental market which has seen large growth recently. 

The university is also exploring options for a new daycare on campus for those who used the Student Parent Center, but there are no solid plans for now.