Sunday, October 24, 2021
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A look at student housing at UMKC

Of about 9,000 UMKC undergraduate students, 1,430 live on campus in one of three buildings: Oak Street Residence Hall, Oak Place Apartments or Herman and Dorothy Johnson Residence Hall.

Kristen Abell, director of Residential Life, said each building serves a different student population with different needs.

“We have different staffing in each of the facilities based on the student population, and we provide different programming based on those populations, as well,” she said. “Students living in the residence halls are required to purchase a meal plan, while students living in the apartments are not.”

Oak Street, the oldest of the three, opened in August 2004. It houses approximately 550 students, most of who are in the first year of the six-year medical school program. Co-ed by suite, Oak Street Hall has a high-tech classroom and rooms for practicing music. The courtyard is a popular hangout spot for social gatherings, as is the basement lounge area.

“All of the wood makes Oak Street feel like a home,” said senior Chelsea Scott, who has lived on campus all four years. “There are more people here, too.”

Johnson Hall became the first LEED-certified building on campus when it opened in August 2009. Home to approximately 330 students, Johnson Hall is co-ed by wing instead of by suite. There is a study room, community kitchen and social lounge on each floor. There is also an outdoor sand volleyball court.

Oak Place Apartments opened in 2008, and were built and initially operated through a partnership between UMKC and a private developer. Oak Place has since been purchased by UMKC. With more than 500 students, Abell said Oak Place provides ideal living for upper-level students. Unlike residence hall suites, each apartment in Oak Place is complete with a private bathroom for each bedroom, a contemporary furnished living room, washer, dryer and fully equipped kitchen.

The first level of Oak Place contains retail space. Tenants include Oak Place Nails and Pickleman’s Gourmet Café. Oak Place also includes a parking garage linking the north and south wings, and its residents are given priority when purchasing permits.

“I like living in the apartments because it is more of an adult experience,” said junior Tevin Moore, who works as a desk assistant at Johnson Hall.

Meal plans vary in price depending on where the student lives and how many students live in a unit. Students living in Oak Street or Johnson halls are required to purchase a plan. Meal plans cost anywhere from $8,937 for a four-person double suite with 12 meals per week to $10,734 for a single suite with 280 block meals per year.

Abell said there is not a shortage of on-campus housing, and that all students who were on a “waiting” list for a unit have been placed in an apartment or suite.

Abell listed the benefits of living on campus, including a 24-hour support staff, planned activities and jobs specific to students living on campus, such as a desk assistant or residential assistant (RA).

Britney Enochs serves as a desk assistant at both Oak Street and Johnson halls.

“I like this job because it’s social, flexible and works around my schedule,” Enochs said.

Abell said Residential Life will consider adding new housing options when there is enough demand.

“I think there’s always the potential for us to add housing depending on the needs of our students,” she said. “At this point, we have not had a lot of students express a need for family housing.”

In addition to the three facilities managed by Residential Life, single family homes owned by UMKC in the Rockhill Crest neighborhood, bounded by Holmes Street, Troost Avenue, 51st and 55th streets, are managed through a contract with Cohen-Esrey. These houses lease between $800/month for a basic 1,300 square foot two bedroom, one bathroom home, to $1,500/month for a premium 1,500 square foot four bedroom, two bathroom unit.

kforte@unews.com

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