Chapman Grand apartment complex welcomes first residents

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Residence Life and First Year Experience led check-in day in the Chapman Grand lobby Aug 23. Students were given a one-hour unloading parking permit to move in to the complex.

The $150 million complex can house up to 900 students and is part of Chapman’s plan to house all freshmen and sophomores in university-owned housing by fall 2019.

Chapman Grand, a university-owned Anaheim apartment building, welcomed its first Chapman residents the week of Aug. 20. The 399-unit building, which Chapman purchased for $150 million in November 2017 to increase student housing, can accommodate up to 900 residents.

“We had nearly 1.5 times as many people who are interested in campus housing (this year) – which I think is largely due to Chapman Grand – and a higher amount who actually signed up when compared to the previous year,” said Dave Sundby, the director of Residence Life and First Year Experience.

On-campus housing was available for every student who applied this year, Sundby said. Chapman Grand has filled 82 percent of its 900 spots.

“Some people are looking at Chapman Grand and saying, ‘You only have 740 people?’ But internally, when we got to 600, we were ecstatic,” he said.

The 1- to 3-bedroom apartments are located on the corner of East Katella Avenue and South Lewis Street, a 10- to 15-minute drive away from Chapman and minutes away from Disneyland, the Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the Honda Center and Interstate 5.

Chapman Grand apartments include a kitchen, living room, a bed frame and twin mattress, and basic household appliances like laundry machines and kitchen devices. Students were initially promised desks and chairs in an email from Residence Life, but staff later said that the information was mistakenly included, and that the desk furniture would not be provided.

“The furniture plan made up a combination of things. We looked at survey data … and some if it showed students didn’t love having a desk,” Sundby said.

The apartment complex also features a pool and a hot tub, as well as five courtyards with outdoor lounge furniture.

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Chapman Grand’s outdoor courtyard and pool area.

“The outdoor living space is like a hotel resort,” said Mitali Shukla, a sophomore sociology major. “If I want to have a quiet night or grill during a barbecue, there are definitely amenities for that.”

The apartment also has access to gym equipment, televisions, pool tables and board games.

“Chapman Grand is a huge facility that is clean and really modern looking,” Shukla said. “It has more amenities than you think and is super well-furnished in the lobby.”

Soon, the Anaheim complex won’t be Chapman’s only new housing. The Villa Park Orchards Residence Hall, located near the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at the corner of Palm Avenue and Cypress Street, is under construction and about 30 percent completed, according to university officials.

Originally a packing house, the historic site is being repurposed to create a 400-bed residence hall with suite-style units that have a living space and a kitchen, similar to the existing Harris and Davis Apartments.

Over the summer, construction workers completed the building’s foundations and poured ground-floor concrete. Kris Olsen, the vice president of campus planning and operations, wrote to The Panther in an email that Orange is satisfied with the project, which underwent a lengthy approval process due to city preservation laws.

The budget for the Villa Park Orchards Residence Hall is $47.4 million, while the restoration of the Packing House is $12.1 million. The residence hall, which will house sophomores a

nd upperclassmen, is set to open in August 2019.

Because the building is located much closer to the university than Chapman Grand, its residents will not have access to all of the same amenities, like an on-site fitness center – instead, students living at the new residence hall will use Chapman’s campus facilities.

According to a headcount provided by the Institutional Research Office at Chapman, the Villa Park Orchards Residence Hall units and Chapman Grand’s combined capacity could house an additional 1,300 students, or 18.5 percent of the fall 2017 undergraduate population. Information on the fall 2018 undergraduate count is not yet available.

Struppa estimated in 2017 that the construction of Chapman Grand and Villa Park Orchards Residence Hall will allow 60 percent of undergraduates to be housed by the university. With the new housing comes a new rule – last year, the university announced its plan to require that underclassmen live on campus by fall 2019.

Incoming freshmen are part of the requirement. Sundby said this requirement will be enforced starting with the class of 2022, but will not apply to transfer students, married students or students who have a dependent, like a child.

“We’ve been thinking about (a housing policy) for years. It’s just been on the back burner because we didn’t have enough beds,” said Jerry Price, the dean of students. “This has always been something that we wanted to implement.”

The new policy also won’t affect students who live within a 30-mile radius from the university with a family member and want to stay at home instead of paying the 2018-19 housing rates, which can range from $5,804 to $28,616.

Erika Castro, a sociology major who commutes from Santa Ana, said she thinks living on campus helps build social connections the first year – but that it shouldn’t be enforced.

“I live off campus because it’s cheaper, and I ultimately just wanted to save money,” Castro said. “Freshmen might not mind (having to stay on campus) the first year, but the second year, they’ll probably want to rent out because we’re all (in college) for independence.”

The new housing requirement offers students advantages that aren’t found in on-campus housing, including not worrying about monthly rent or utilities, and access to shuttle rides to and from campus.

Mike Pelly, the vice president and dean of enrollment management, told The Panther in an email that 17 percent of fall 2018 freshmen are from Orange County, meaning the other 83 percent are not local.

Some have expressed worry that they won’t be able to find housing after their first year, Sundby said. One of the reasons the housing policy was put into action is to reduce that concern – at least for underclassmen.

I wish we could guarantee housing for all four years, but the math doesn’t add up,” Pelly wrote.

But Pelly said he’s optimistic that the university will be able to accommodate the upperclassmen who want to live on campus once Villa Park Orchards’ construction is complete.

Campus housing options also allow students to have more access to resources, like Chapman’s Public Safety, since they are owned and managed by the university, Struppa told The Panther in November 2017.

Chapman isn’t alone in implementing this type of policy.

“Schools that we look to compare Chapman to – like Santa Clara, University of San Diego, Pepperdine – have a one, two or three-year living requirement,” Sundby said.

Another motive is to alleviate tensions between the Chapman community and other Orange residents who may be opposed to the amount of college students living in the neighborhoods that surround Chapman – in 2016, the Orange City Council passed amendments to an ordinance that is punitive toward “loud or unruly” gatherings in residences, which some saw as targeted toward Chapman students.

“A lot of (Chapman’s) neighbors wanted to see us diminish the number of students who were renting homes in the area,” Price said. “Our goal is to really make a commitment to the city and to the neighborhood to, as quickly as possible, get to (housing) at least 50 percent (of undergraduates).”