Starting next semester, graduate students will have two fewer apartment buildings in which they may choose to live.
Esplanade Apartments on Prospect Street and York-Crown Apartments — both owned and operated by Yale Housing and containing 62 units altogether — will close in June 2015 for renovations. While Yale administrators agree that the housing facilities were in need of repair, the closure of the apartments comes at a time when several graduate students have already expressed frustration at the changes taking place in other graduate facilities, including the renovation of the Hall of Graduate Studies and its potential conversion into a center for the humanities by 2019 and the construction of new apartments for 80 graduate students on Elm Street, slated to be completed in 2017. Three students interviewed said they thought Yale Housing could better communicate with students about these kinds of changes.
“When it comes to renovating things, refurbishing things, there is essentially no communication,” said James Gutierrez GRD ’17, adding that he found it difficult to apply for housing online.
Regarding the renovation of graduate spaces, Gutierrez said he believes the administration often disregards student input.
The apartments, which will be closed for one full academic year, will reopen to graduate students in fall 2016. Students who currently live in these buildings must move out by June of this year. According to Yale Housing Manager Melanie Pagan, the office has no plans to build housing to compensate for the reduction in housing space.
“We don’t own any more buildings. It’s not like we could open up another apartment building,” said Pagan.
However, Pagan also said that Yale Housing intends to help those students affected by the closures find housing for next year by guiding them through the process using an online housing database. The availability of graduate housing depends largely on how many students decide to move on or off campus, Pagan added.
University spokesman Tom Conroy said students who are currently living in the buildings and will still be enrolled when the renovations are completed will receive priority consideration for the refurbished units.
Though Director of Graduate and Professional Student Housing George Longyear said the buildings had reached their life expectancy and required serious refurbishment, Yale Housing Manager Chris Taylor said the apartment buildings in question do not stand out more than others in terms of the number of maintenance requests placed each week with Yale Housing.
Regardless of the quality of the apartments, Conroy said the renovations cannot be conducted while the buildings are occupied, which is why they will be taken off the market.
The residents of the buildings have been notified in advance of the renovation plans.
Students interviewed said they appreciated being notified about renovations and housing changes early on.
“It’s nice to have a warning,” said Catherine Chiabaut GRD ’18.
On Feb. 7, Yale Housing hosted a fair displaying housing opportunities for next year, which drew over a thousand attendees.