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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Campus

UH hopes to build new Moody Towers, renovate Bayou Oaks


The housing master plan was updated to include new projects that are under consideration for construction for the next few years. | Lino Sandil/The Cougar

The housing master plan was updated to include new projects that are under consideration for construction for the next few years. | Lino Sandil/The Cougar

The University through 2027 hopes to replace Moody Towers and renovate Bayou Oaks and graduate apartments as part of its updated housing plan.

The renovations come to accommodate the University’s growing student population, which topped 46,000 this semester.

“All of these possible housing projects would provide more options for UH students,” said Executive Director of Student Housing and Residential Life Don Yackley. “The most important aspect of these potential projects are that they are generated by student feedback and need.” 

While the projects aren’t set in stone, the University updated its housing master plan on Oct. 1 to  showcase the planned changes to on-campus housing. 

Yackley said UH’s growth has made it necessary to increase the number of beds on campus. There will also be more private apartments near campus, according to the housing master plan.

One of the updates included a review of Moody Towers for possible replacement, which had been in the works. 

“In three to five years, we expect to be looking at taking down and replacing the towers,” Yackley said in a previous interview. “They’re our most affordable housing option, so whatever we replace, we have to focus on affordability.”

There is also the potential for about 800 new apartment style beds for graduate students, which can help accommodate the 5,864 graduate students UH has.

A refresh of Bayou Oaks was included in the update, along with the possibility of housing located near the new College of Medicine that could be designed for graduate students, students with families, or faculty and staff housing. 

“When we look at future housing projects, we evaluate them first through the lens of student needs, affordability, and student success,” Yackley said.

The housing master plan highlights how the University will continue growing, but there is also mention of constraints on development for some of the ideas.

“Campus density may continue to increase by replacing lower, less productive buildings with taller, more high-performing structures,” the master plan said.  

With the exception of the legacy buildings in the campus core and in the Residential and Health districts, the plan intends to construct buildings higher than the University has done in the past.

The University lies on the banks of Bray’s Bayou, which has flooded campus structures in the past

“A renewed commitment to providing distributed, integrated, and comprehensive storm water infrastructure is essential to better protect the university from future events,” the master plan said.

The overall timeline is three to ten years for the possible student housing projects, Yackley said.

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