Written by Torry Barnes, @TorryBarnes
The Cedars BYU-Idaho Approved Women’s Housing will close this semester and be rebuilt as the first combined single and married student housing, according to Richie Webb, CEO of Hemming Properties.
Webb said the new facility will open January 2018 and will have three components: housing for single students, housing for married students and retail accommodations, such as shops and restaurants.
He said the complex will be the largest housing facility offered by Hemming Properties with 450 total beds for single students, 60 apartment units for married students and 35,000 square feet of commercial space.
Webb said the Cedars and four Hemming-owned houses, including Hemming Village Housing I, II and III will be torn down at the end of this semester, leaving 144 students to find a new home.
Webb said the Cedars currently offers 114 beds, and the Willows, Hemming Properties largest current facility, provides 360 beds.
He said rapid growth in student population creates a high demand for student housing.
“We felt, with our close proximity to campus, we could provide housing for both the married and single students,” Webb said.
He said bringing married BYU-I students closer to campus will allow car traffic to be less crowded around campus.
“We fulfill a unique need by bringing married housing close to campus because most of the married housing is far away,” Webb said. “They can walk to campus instead of having to bring extra vehicles onto campus.”
He said the complex will not only benefit BYU-I students, but the entire community.
“The additional services we’ve been able to bring in terms of retail and food enhances and strengthens the core of downtown,” Webb said. “I think we’ll strengthen the area by keeping it healthy and vital as we go forward into the future.”
Rachel Higgins, a Cedars resident and a junior studying construction management, said the facility is getting older and could use reconstruction.
“I think it’s needed,” Higgins said. “Especially with the influx of people who will be coming in the future.”
Higgins said she will not return to BYU-I until fall semester, so she is not too worried about finding an apartment.
Karlee Worthlen, a Cedars resident and a junior studying recreation management, said the current condition of the Cedars cannot compete with fresher, larger apartments like NorthPoint.
“There are definitely parts of this apartment that need to be upgraded,” Worthlen said. “We have wood that has fallen out, and the kitchen area and counter space are kind of ridiculous.”
Jasmine Case, a Cedars resident and freshman studying recreational therapy, said she is satisfied with these changes because it will give married couples a chance to live closer to campus.
“I’m actually OK with it because it’s going to help other students,” Case said.
Case said she was already planning on living at her home in Rigby next semester.
Carmee Crockett, a Cedars resident and a senior studying English, said she was disappointed because she finally found somewhere to live that she enjoyed.
“I finally found a place that I like to live, and then I have to leave again,” Crockett said. “I was a little upset.”
Crockett said next semester would be her last before she graduates and looked forward to spending her last semester at the Cedars.
Kathrine Harvey, a Cedars resident and a sophomore studying music performance, said she is not ready to leave the Cedars because she loves the management and the location.
“The location is phenomenal,” Harvey said. “We can walk outside and we are basically right outside of campus.”
Harvey said she chose to live at Sunrise Village instead of the Pines because Sunrise is closer to campus.
Webb said Hemming Properties is a family venture that desires to provide quality services to Rexburg.
“We don’t want to lose sight of why we began to do this in the beginning, which was to add to this community,” Webb said. “We have a lot of tender feelings towards Rexburg and the history of Rexburg. We feel like it’s an honor for us to be a part of the now and the future of Rexburg.”