The Department of Residences opened the doors to Gateway Suites, the new residence located beside the Tim Hortons on the East Campus, for the 2015/2016 school year.
Although built and owned by the Brock Plaza Corporation, the same company that also owns Quarry View Residence, the Department of Residences operates the building. Containing 86 rooms organized into 24 suites of three of four-bedrooms, Gateway is reserved for upper year and graduate students.
“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from upper students that want to live on campus but not have that first-year residence feel,” said Tammy Brown, Manager of Residence Admissions and Administration for the Department of Residences.
Brendon Orian, a fifth-year student at Brock University, lives in a four-bedroom suite in Gateway. Having been a don for several years, he appreciates the difference of his new residence from the others.
“I like how spacious it is. It makes it feel more homey compared to other residences which can feel more cramped. Also, I don’t have to call the Service Desks for everything unless it’s a big maintenance issue. I can do small repairs myself like fixing my creaking door with WD40 or unclogging the toilet,” said Orian.
The cost of Gateway is based on a monthly rent system. There are both eight and twelve-month leases available for $650 per month which includes utilities, wireless internet, and cable in the living room. Each suite comes with an open-concept kitchen and living area, furnished with a fridge, stove, microwave and dishwasher. There are two bathrooms, a four-piece and three-piece, as well as washing machine and dryer per suite. The bedroom and living area also come completely furnished.
Orian also cited the proximity to campus and bus stops as positive points for the residence. The students in the residence also have a lot more independence than those living in the other residences. There are no inspections by residence staff and besides the landlord/tenant agreement, none of the traditional rules that apply to the other residence buildings.
“What really convinced me was the upper-year only restriction. [The residence] is really quiet which is nice. It’s conveniently close to campus and most of my friends are dons so I’m close to them as well,” said Orion.
The Department of Residence, and specifically Brown, is responsible for the operation of the residence. This includes admissions, room assignments, leases and collection of the rent. The rent is deducted monthly through the Student Financial History page on my.brocku.ca. For any maintenance concerns or other issues, the students can go to the North Service Desk which will take care of any problems.
So far there have not been many issues with the new residence. At the beginning there were problems with the temperature, since it was centrally controlled. Now however, each suite regulates its own heating and cooling.
The main complaint Orian had was that there was not enough lighting, with only one lamp fixture for the kitchen and living area and one his bedroom. Accessibility was also an initial problem as the system for opening the main doors caused some problems for people with physical disabilities. Currently the residence is only accessible by key, and though it should also have swipe access, that has not yet been implemented.
There is a possibility that there may be other similar residences coming soon.
“We’re starting a residence master plan and will look to build or renovate what we’ve got. We’re looking at student demand and hoping for a lot of student input on that process as well,” said Brown.