Some students leasing rooms at Fremont Station in west Flagstaff found their rooms weren’t finished in time for Monday’s start of classes.
Erika Busby was one NAU student who found herself without a room at the new apartment complex last week. In all, 290 rooms will not be ready for two to four weeks.
“I like to be in where I am going to be living a few days before classes start so I can get settled in for my classes,” Busby said. “But this time I won’t be able to because I’ll be in the hotel.”
When Busby found out she would not have the option to live on campus for her junior year, she chose to lease at Fremont Station because it would be close to campus and have amenities she wanted, like a computer center.
She does not have a car, so she wanted to find somewhere with a short commute and where she would feel safe while traveling to and from her twice-weekly night class.
But last week Busby received an email from Fremont Station stating her room would not be completed on time and she would have to stay in a hotel room while construction finished, even though when she signed her lease she was told she would be able to move in August 23.
By the time she learned of the move-in delay she had already paid her $770 for the first month of rent. Another month’s worth of rent is due Sept. 1.
Three of the five buildings in Fremont Station have received certificates of occupancy from the city, said Pat Walsh, a spokesman representing Capstone Collegiate Communities, the developer. He said 518 bedrooms were available for move-in this week.
Walsh said 168 of the remaining bedrooms will be finished in the next week or two, and the final 122 bedrooms will be finished within three to four weeks.
Of the students displaced, 175 requested to be put up in hotel rooms while they wait for their rooms to be completed, and 115 chose other options, Walsh said. Capstone will be paying for hotel accommodations as well as giving the displaced students a $250 gift card meant to cover some living expenses while they are in hotels or living with friends.
Michelle Williams, Busby’s mother, said the short notice that the room would not be complete left her “between a rock and a hard place.” She said she did not have enough time to try to find other accommodations for her daughter, and she will now have to take another day off work to help her move into Fremont Station when the room finally is ready.
“It’s very frustrating,” Williams said. “We have two years invested in NAU, and it feels like they are more concerned about numbers and money than about the students.”
Busby had to leave most of the belongings she planned to take to the apartment at home in the Valley because they will not all fit into the hotel room. When her room is ready, she will have to travel back down to help her family move the rest of her things.
Another weekend of moving will mean time taken away from studying, rehearsals and work for Busby, who is a theatre major and is trying to get a job.
“It adds another weekend of hectic moving to my plate,” she said.
To help accommodate students who were displaced by Fremont Station, NAU offered discounted meal plans specifically for them. However, Williams and Busby said they were never told about the discounted plans, and said they bought a regular priced meal plan for Busby because she will not have access to kitchen appliances while she is in the hotel.