Turning student housing in Lethbridge into options for the public

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After a mass exodus of student residents at the end of each spring semester, both the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College open the doors to their residences to the public. Eloise Therien has more on the accommodations that are comparable to hotels and longer-term rentals. – Jun 16, 2022

The end of the spring post-secondary semester, marks a new season for Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge.

Most students living on campus leave the city during the summer, giving the institutions the opportunity to transition their student living spaces into publicly-available summer accommodations between May and August.

Lethbridge College has more than 500 beds spread between several townhouse and apartment complexes.

Tom Virag, the college’s residence and guest services coordinator, said they open these spaces up for rent at varying costs.

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“If you want to stay for a few weeks or a few months, that would be our preference,” he said. “We have hosted people for just a one-night or two-night (stay) as well.

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“Our single suites, which could look like a hotel room, are in the $70 per night range. So much cheaper than a hotel room.”

Student Lucas Selk, who is between years of study, chose to remain on Lethbridge College’s property throughout the summer.

He’s one of around 40 students currently living on campus and recommends it to other students.

“Why would I pack up my stuff, move across the city or even move back (home) when I could find a job here?” he said.

Read more: Halifax post-secondary students struggling to secure places to live

The University of Lethbridge, who typically operates at a full residence capacity of more than 1,000 students, is currently housing just under 70 students.

Those residents can be current U of L students between years or taking summer classes, high school graduates about to start their studies at the university, or recent alumni.

“I think it’s convenient (for students), but we have marketed it a lot more this summer,” said associate director of housing services Laura Correal.

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“Having that promotion of 50 per cent off is really nice, considering prices are going up everywhere else too.”

Read more: UVic students facing ‘unprecedented’ housing crisis

One building at the university is turned into the LUX Hotel Campus Accommodations.

Sacha Johnson, manager of the U of L conference and events services, said it’s a good option for those needing amenities such as a kitchen.

It’s the only hotel on the west side of Lethbridge.

“We convert Mount Blaskiston (apartment) into full-linen accommodation,” Sacha Johnson explained.

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“It’s essentially a furnished apartment that they can rent and kind of feel like they’re not just boxed into a small hotel room. They have the amenities of a extended stay apartment.”

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Both institutions host large groups as well, which the COVID-19 pandemic hindered over the last two summers.

“To mention a few: dragon boat weekend is coming up,” Virag said. ‘We’re going to be basically fully-booked for that weekend. We have hosted soccer teams, we have hosted little league baseball teams.

“We’re definitely seeing a bounce-back and hopefully we can build on that going forward.”

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