UB Considers Converting Goodyear Hall to Campus Apartments

Students seeking apartment-style living may soon be able to look to South Campus, as well as North, for on-campus housing. The university is investigating the possibility of converting the Goodyear residence hall on South Campus into apartment-style housing within the next few years.

Almost a year ago, University Residence Halls and Apartments (URHA) launched a study to explore options in converting the 41-year-old building from freshman dorms into one- and two-bedroom apartment housing for upperclassmen.

The study currently underway - itself costing $100,000 - has placed cost estimates of a Goodyear conversion between $15 million and $16 million. URHA has received no public funding for the project, with all financial support coming solely from UB.

Goodyear currently houses 429 students, which the new plan looks to decrease by almost half. According to Joseph Krakowiak, director of UB's residence halls, the URHA concluded that the current housing situation at Goodyear was too densely populated. In part to alleviate the overcrowding, URHA resolved to remove all freshman housing from Goodyear to make way for renovated apartments.

The conversion plan coincides with the Lee Road Master Plan currently under discussion. The Lee Road corridor, which will connect the Ellicott complex with the academic spine, will contain a combination of studio or loft-style apartments.

Sophomores, in addition to upperclassmen and graduate students, would be eligible to live in the Lee Road apartments, leaving the traditional residence halls primarily for freshmen and other students who opt to live there. Freshmen displaced from Goodyear could live on North Campus or in Clement Hall, which would remain a housing option for those incoming freshmen desiring South Campus residency.

In addition to the feasibility study, URHA also conducted a marketing survey, polling enrolled students to gauge their opinions on the future conversion. Without offering specific numbers, Krakowiak said the survey showed that most students welcomed the idea of bringing apartment-style housing to South Campus.

"Apartments would be a good idea," said Jackson Buss, a freshman and current Goodyear resident. "As double dorms, Goodyear feels really cramped, and single apartments would help that."

The conversion project is part of a larger move toward replacing conventional dorms with campus apartments. "The trend in higher education is to move toward apartment-style housing," said Krakowiak.

According to Krakowiak, the residence hall office sent out an RFP, or request for proposals, to architectural agencies around the area for design suggestions and cost estimates. URHA decided to retain Flynn-Battaglia, a local architecture firm. While the study into the scope of the dorm modifications is not yet complete, the firm has determined that the Goodyear dorms are structurally sound. The building will be equipped for apartment conversion after some necessary window and floor repairs, electrical rewiring and, most pressing, plumbing upgrades.

The results of the Goodyear feasibility study are scheduled to be presented to a committee headed by Dennis Black, UB's vice president for student affairs, in the spring. If all goes according to plan, ground will break on the Goodyear expansion in Fall 2003.

"This new plan fits the bill for good use of these buildings, and really works with what students want," said Krakowiak.