Listen to student concerns about Dobie Spaces

Mia Abbe, Columnist

UT is in dire need of additional housing for students. Freshmen are not guaranteed housing on campus, and finding housing off campus is a mad scramble as students try to scoop up the best deals at the closest locations. 

In an attempt to fix the problem, UT has begun to purchase properties off-campus to convert into student housing. The most recent purchase by UT is Dobie Twenty21 Student Spaces, a large complex situated on top of the Target on Guadalupe Street. 

It is commendable that UT is trying to fix its housing problem. However, UT must make sure that this housing remains accessible to students and that preexisting issues with these newly purchased complexes are fixed.

A previous example of UT purchasing off-campus properties to add to their portfolio is 2400 Nueces Apartments. After UT purchased the complex in 2019, they proceeded to raise the monthly rent prices from a range of $665 to $1,775 to a range of $785 to $1,575. 

Because West Campus pricing is so expensive and cheap options close to campus are limited, UT should not raise Dobie’s current rates but instead keep them the same or even lower. 

University spokesperson J.B. Bird said that while he was unaware of the details regarding UT changing the current rates of Dobie Spaces after converting it to student housing, the goal of purchasing Dobie was to increase the number of affordable housing options for students. 

“We know that long term, having more housing options will allow us to increase affordability options for students,” Bird said. “I don’t think anyone should be concerned about (the price rates) going in a dramatic direction because it’s going to be part of a portfolio of student housing and dining options, and our housing and dining options are affordable relative to the market.” 

Dobie Spaces is a strategic purchase because of its close proximity to UT, but the complex has a lot of problems already. With 2.5 stars on Yelp and pages of reviews complaining about issues varying from slow maintenance to no hot water, one can only hope UT will strive to fix these concerns before advertising Dobie as University student housing. 

Jamie McPhaul, psychology sophomore and former Dobie resident, spoke about some of the outstanding issues she experienced when she lived at Dobie Spaces as a freshman. 

 

“Our AC didn’t work for the first month that we were there, and it was very hot in our room. We suspected there was mold in the shower because the paint was peeling off. We had clogging in the shower. … Food had gone down the drain of the kitchen sink and ended up coming back up (my roommate’s) shower drain,” McPhaul said.

According to Bird, UT plans to listen to student concerns and address them in the next month. 

“We know that students have voiced concerns. … We’re aware of that and we’re going to hear the concerns first and figure out what strategically the University can address,” Bird said. 

The University should make sure that students have a decent, affordable place to live where they are not plagued with concerns about a lack of hot water or air conditioning. It is vital for UT to listen to student concerns about Dobie Spaces and keep the property accessible for students.

Abbe is a government and communications studies sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas.