UT breaks ground on new graduate student housing in East Campus

Abbie Bard, News Reporter

The University broke ground on a new housing project for graduate students as part of their affordable housing initiative in East Campus earlier this month.

The project is located on 21st Street between Comal Street and Leona Street in the historic Blackland neighborhood. It will include fully-furnished studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units with a total of 784 beds, as well as a fitness center, study spaces and an amphitheater. The project, set to open by Fall 2024, is managed by University Housing and Dining. 

“UT Austin is committed to attracting and developing talented, high-impact graduate students, and to do so, we are working to provide more affordable housing options that also promote a sense of community,” President Jay Hartzell said in a UT news release. ““I am grateful for our ongoing conversations with the Blackland Neighborhood Association, and I am excited to collaborate as we go forward so our graduate students are both contributing to and benefiting from the vibrancy of the neighborhood.”

Haley Rough, communications director for the Graduate Student Assembly, said because the project is not set to be finished until Fall 2024, little is known about the cost and availability of the new housing.

“It’s gonna be a while,” Rough said. “We also know these things can get pushed back. So I think people are happy about the project. I just think people also don’t know, there’s a lot of unanswered questions that people aren’t aware of yet.”

Hannah Berendzen, vice president of the GSA, said many graduate students are excited about the new housing, which will offer an alternative to North Campus housing, where many graduate students currently reside.

“From what I have heard from department representatives, the GSA and the executive board, and then my various other peers and colleagues on campus, it seems like the general consensus is that we’re really excited,” Berendzen said. “It’s really nice that this is going to be a nice facility, a new facility, one that’s close to campus.”

Berendzen said she hopes this new project is only the beginning for expanded graduate student housing options. 

“Even though we’re really excited about this project, there are around 11,000 graduate students,” Berendzen said. “And so these extra 780 beds are great, but things need to happen after that as well. And we’re looking forward to hearing more about what they plan on doing in the future and how they’re working towards that right now.”