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Affordable Student Housing: GCC's 100 Year Legacy

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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  • Here are the latests plans for the new GCC housing unit.

    Here are the latests plans for the new GCC housing unit.

  • And the demolition begins.

    And the demolition begins.

Written by Abigel Lemak

When looking for affordable housing as a student, something always seems to give. For their 100 year anniversary, the Guelph Campus Co-operative (GCC) is trying to give students it all.

The Guelph Campus Coop has been working for students for a hundred years. As Canada’s oldest cooperative, to commemorate their anniversary the Coop is building another student housing unit on the lot behind their office at College and Gordon.

These housing units are said to be open for move in by the end of December, demolition has just begun. These housing units are meant to cater to students who value affordable, good quality student housing, with on-site landlords and a sense of community as they are incorporated into the larger neighborhood. 

Co-op Manager of Housing and Member Relations, Tom Klein Beernink, suggests that the kind of student who would most appreciate living in their new housing unit is one looking for a home a community, rather than a replay of first-year residence.

“We’re looking for people who want to live in a cool community and who are environmentally conscious,” said Beernink.

These units are meant to provide affordable housing for students, with a focus on quality and an environmentally conscious build. There will be eighteen, four bedroom units, with two bathrooms each and an open-concept kitchen and living area. They have a passive solar design to maximize sun exposure to help heat as well as cool the building. Another feature includes in-floor heat as well as a rainwater collection system, used for flushing toilettes. The design is truly a tribute to what modern housing technology can produce.

Student and Co-op housing resident, Emily Padhi, offered her own experience:

“I think that, ideally, co-op's want to promote the type of atmosphere that includes a high level of involvement from its members and a conscientious approach to living in a community,” said Padhi. “The new housing development is just another example of how the GCC is pursuing projects that remain faithful to this overarching principle.”

The main principle according to Beernink, is a desire to provide comfortable housing that is catered towards the needs of students while remaining conscious of their tight finances. 

“Sure it's close to campus - I can see my Department from my window. And rent is definitely affordable relative to the location. It doesn't hurt that the co-op supplies its residents with cleaning materials and is always on hand if there is an issue with your room,” said Padhi. “But, I think what I enjoy most is that I get to be part of an organization that not only prides itself with having lofty goals, but that actively pursues those ideals in a measured, coordinated way.” 

The most alluring feature for Guelph students, notorious for their environmental consciousness, are the eco features the project has included in the unit’s design.

“The housing development that is in the works is kind of awesome,”said Padhi. “The blueprints have been gone over meticulously with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that this is a quality project that is designed to make the most out of environmentally-friendly technologies.”

The GCC has worked closely with students in order to ensure that their housing unit is as appealing in its design as in its location, while lending itself as a space in which a small community can be created. 

“It's exciting because, not only will the apartments be slick, but hopefully the atmosphere here will set it apart from other housing communities as something really special,” said Padhi. “Once apartments become available, I think this is going to be the place to be!” 

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  1. Posted by: on Jul 30, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    I think this is a wonderful idea. It also adds to the fact that students can find alternate methods than just apartment/house hunting. I also think that they should expand on their family housing property and add a bigger building, or something. I am finding it difficult to find a place for my family at the moment...

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