Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How will changes at BYU shape valley?

Last week you might have caught the story in the Herald about BYU blocking You Tube. This action might have students up in arms, but it was another story that should have got their attention.

The Deseret News's Tad Walch, the valley's resident reporter on town and gown issues, wrote an article on BYU's student housing plans. While the South Campus Area Master Plan has been around for awhile, it looks like BYU will be enforcing these boundaries come April, and possibly constricting them further.

This has to make Provo city happy as they have made it known that they see student housing as the city's greatest burden. If the school is going to create a smaller box for the all-important BYU-approved housing, then Provo will be happy as clams.

But there are a few unknowns that should be considered by all sides. First BYU might find itself in a bind in 5 or ten years when this limited space has been carved up and additional capacity becomes an issue. Traffic is this part of Provo is already bad...imagine when every single BYU student has to live there.

Provo city should also keep in mind who will be taking the places of students at outlying apartment complexes. Without BYU students keeping prices inflated on the outskirts of SCAMP it is probable that a very different demographic will move in. Good, bad, or whatever...there will be a very different culture in these complexes in a very short amount of time.

But the reason why The Pipeline is even bringing this up is how it will effect UVSC students. As demand increases in the limited space around BYU you will see UVSC kids being forced out of "Approved" housing. This is not a minor issue...UVSC kids make up a strong contingent amongst BYU approved apartment complexes. With no where else to put BYU students UVSC students will continue migrating to Orem. And currently Orem has a moratorium on new "student" housing around UVSC. With Parkway Crossing no longer adding phases, and an expected surge in students as the school becomes a university, will there be adequate, affordable housing for UVSC students? How about in the next few years as local high schools graduate record numbers of students? The baby boom that educators have been warning us about for years will soon be knocking on UVSC's open-enrollment door.

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