More than 150 Valdosta State University students are living without promised housing after signing leases with a new apartment complex that has not been fully built. The complex, Magnolia Reserve, has placed some students in allegedly questionable motels while awaiting completion.
According to an e-mail obtained by The Spectator, students have been reported living in their cars, complaining about unsafe conditions in the motels, falling behind in their coursework, and even suffering mental breakdowns due to the situation.
Magnolia Reserve, located at West 1400 Magnolia St., informed students who signed leases that they could move in at the beginning of fall semester, but has since changed the move-in date approximately five times.
Originally, students were placed in the Hampton and Fairfield hotels. Since then, some have been moved to lower priced hotels without the students’ consent.
An employee who answered the phone at the number on the Magnolia Reserve website referred all questions to a manager. There has yet to be any information provided about the situation.
The Magnolia Reserve website does not provide clarification about the move-in delay. The site still promotes availability for “affordable, modern luxury college living.”
According to e-mail from a graduate student sent to Dr. Thomas Hochschild of the sociology department, these motels are unfit for anyone to stay in. Some students reported that they have gotten bug bites and experienced allergic reactions.
The e-mail also said that one woman found a man inside the room she had been assigned at one of the hotels. Some of the students in this predicament have been deciding to sleep in their cars, stay with friends or drive out of town to stay with family.
Most have had to pay to put their belongings in storage and have complained of financial burden. Some students have been given a $200 stipend.
On Wednesday afternoon, construction continued at the site of the Magnolia Reserve, but it didn’t appear that the complex would be completed anytime soon. The exterior seems mostly finished, but significant work is needed on the landscaping and in other areas.
An e-mail from Magnolia Reserve went out to affected students Wednesday night with multiple apologies and notice that they may have to switch hotels again. The e-mail seemed hopeful with promises of updates but nothing is finalized.
Dr. Ricky Clark, VSU’s director of housing and residence life, said the University is aware of the situation.
“We have worked with some students to formulate alternative living plans,” Clark said. “To address this issue, we have offered temporary housing solutions to affected students who have brought concerns to our attention until their accommodations at Magnolia Reserve become available.”
Dr. Clark added that the university is able to provide housing as long as there is space available.
Written by Teonna Masten-Benton, Spectator Reporter. Photo courtesy of Kennedy Hill, Photo Editor
Additional reporting by Jasmine Hightower, Entertainment Editor, and Jenna Arnold, News Editor.