On-Grounds and off-Grounds housing

U.Va. students consider variances in price, location and quality


There are a variety of on-Grounds and off-Grounds housing options. 

Reed Brown and Christina Anton and Galen Palowitch | Cavalier Daily

Amongst the several on- and off-Grounds housing options that University students can choose from, several remain popular year after year. Qualities such as location, affordability, amenities, management and overall property quality can hold sway in one’s decision regarding where to live. While on-Grounds housing options feature their own set of rules and regulations, off-Grounds housing can be complex to navigate at times, especially for students who have not searched for an apartment or house to rent before. The housing options described below are just a few of the many popular options thousands of University students live in each year. 

On-Grounds housing

Hereford College

One of the University’s three residential colleges, Hereford College is located in the western part of Grounds on Observatory Hill near Scott Stadium and Runk Dining Hall. The residential college houses about 200 residents in two houses with around 28 students on each floor. In addition to dining, Runk offers laundry facilities, a convenience store and a mailroom.  

A single room in Hereford costs $6,370 for the academic year and a double room costs $6,050.

Students from all years and majors are permitted to live in Hereford, but they must fill out an application. However, fourth-year College student Jorge Gonzales is a resident there and said the application should not cause any concern.

“I mean, I don’t know of anyone who has been turned down because of their application,” Gonzales said. “More than anything, the application just serves as a way to get a head start to know you and create that community environment.”

First-year students who live in Hereford are placed in double rooms, while upperclassmen typically live in single rooms with a shared bathroom. The option to live in a single room is a motivating factor for many who decide to live at the residential college.

Despite the fact that the majority of its residents don’t have roommates, Hereford works to create a community among the students who live there, Gonzales said.

“We actually have a Hereford Senate,” Gonzales said. “We have a committee, and we organize events. All these events [are] just to get to know the people at Hereford. We have such a variety of events that it makes it pretty easy to attend at least once a month.”

Hereford is about a 25-minute walk from Central Grounds, but both Gonzales and third-year College student Luke Thompson said the distance isn’t much of an issue for them. Thompson said he can bike to class in seven minutes, and for those who don’t want to bike or walk, the Northline bus leaves roughly every 10 minutes.

“It’s really not hard to get where you need to go if you’re willing to plan ahead,” Thompson said.

Lambeth Field Apartments

The Lambeth Field Apartments are located a short distance from Central Grounds, between Emmet Street and Rugby Road. The complex’s 24 residential buildings house are divided into six-person or four-person suites. Lambeth Commons, located in the center of the complex, houses the popular C3 convenience store, as well as a laundry facility, mailroom and study spaces. 

All apartments come pre-furnished, with a common living room, dining area and kitchen complete with an electric stove and refrigerator. Bedrooms are double-occupancy, with each apartment featuring two bathrooms as opposed to a single common one.

Housing in Lambeth costs $6,530 for the academic year.

Most residents, particularly second-year and transfer students, choose Lambeth for its short distance from Central Grounds, typically a 13-minute walk or six minute bike ride. The area is also serviced by two bus stops that provide service to most University Transit Service lines. Still, some said they felt the area’s location is less than ideal in its distance to the Corner.

Affordability as opposed to other housing options off-Grounds was another bonus.

“Lambeth was the right choice when it comes to cost,” second-year Engineering student Ryan Kann said. “Seeing how expensive off-Grounds housing can be, living here gives me a chance to look at my options for next year, while still staying relatively close to Grounds.”

Second-year Engineering student Aniket Chandra said he was satisfied with his decision to live at Lambeth.

“While I won’t be living at Lambeth next year, I’d recommend it for second-years and others looking for a semi off-Grounds experience without the distance and cost,” Chandra said. 

Language Houses 

Located near the South Lawn side of Central Grounds on Jefferson Park Avenue, the Language Houses offer a one-credit language immersion learning opportunity. Students apply to live in the houses based on their knowledge and passion for the house or floor’s particular language and culture, and are then assigned to live in a single or double room. 

Approximately 20-27 residents live in La Casa Bolivar (the Spanish House) and La Maison Francaise (the French House), and the Shea House is home to approximately 75 residents. The Shea House is divided by floors, where each hall is dedicated to the study of a particular language. All three Language Houses require a meal plan to live in them. 

A single room in all of the Language Houses costs $7,320 and a double room costs $6,530.

La Casa Bolivar (Spanish House)

Like the other two language houses, there is an application process to live in the Spanish House. The process includes an interview in Spanish which takes place during the fall semester of the year before the student is going to live in the house. 

Logan Petkosek, a second-year College student, said the main advantage of the house is the community it creates, the opportunity to bond with others who share a love of Latino culture and the house’s close proximity to Central Grounds. 

Emma Garfield, a second-year College student, also said she appreciated the culture and community in the house. 

“I love the location and I love improving my language skills every day,” Garfield said. “We just learn so much just speaking it throughout dinner conversations, like when we’re in the hallways.”

Shea House

Shea House is comprised of single and double-occupancy rooms, although there are some single rooms on certain floors.  

Mehak Rana, a third-year Curry student, said she has loved her experience in the Shea House so far primarily because of the diverse community which exists in it. 

“It’s a family atmosphere,” Rana said. “Not only are there so many languages in the house, but there are so many ethnicities learning one language. I really like diversity so that’s why I came here so hearing all the languages here is really interesting.” 

Assorted off-Grounds housing

Oxford Hill

Oxford Hill is located on Madison Avenue directly behind Management Services Corporation’s leasing office and the “MadHouse,” a location with a gym, study spaces and game room exclusively for MSC residents. Oxford Hill also has an outdoor pool for residents to use.

There are one, two and three bedroom unfurnished apartments available, all with balconies that extend from the living room. The kitchen includes major appliances. Some three bedroom apartments have washers and dryers, but those without can use one of the coin-operated laundry facilities. All of the apartments are pet-friendly. 

Monthly rent at Oxford Hill ranges from $467 to $1,085 per bedroom, depending on the number of bedrooms in the unit.

Third-year College student Molly Roberson said the apartments’ affordability was a big factor when she decided to live there a little over a year ago.

“It is very affordable, and all of my roommates wanted to be able to have free parking,” Roberson said. “We were looking for something that fit all of our budgets.”

Third-year College student Claire Crawford said she and her two roommates also liked the affordability of Oxford Hill.

“We were just looking for the cheapest option that looked the nicest,” Crawford said. “When me and my other roommates decided how much rent we wanted to pay, it worked out really nice.”

Crawford just recently moved into her apartment at Oxford Hill, but she said so far, she really likes it because “it’s nice” and “it’s quiet.” However, both she and Roberson agreed the location is far from classes.

“It’s far away, but I don’t mind the distance at all,” Crawford said. “I take the bus [to my classes.] I tried walking in the beginning, and it was too far.”

There are three bus stops near Oxford Hill for both the Inner Loop and Outer Loop routes.

“I don’t mind living here,” Roberson said. “I think it’s pretty good. If you take this apartment and moved it closer, then it would be great.”

The Flats

The Flats at West Village is an apartment building located on West Main Street, with several floorplans ranging from one to four bedrooms and catering to both graduate and undergraduate students. Because of its location near  U.Va. Hospital, it is a popular choice for some nursing students and medical students.

The apartments are furnished, and residents have accessed to a fully-equipped gym and pool among other amenities — however, the rent is higher than many apartment complexes in the Wertland area. For a three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment, rent is approximately $899 per person, according to Off Campus Partners. However, rent in The Flats depends on when one signs their lease, and based on tiered pricing, rent may vary.

Colby White, a third-year Curry student, said the Flats apartments are worth the price for him. 

“It is a little pricey, but you pay for what you get, and it’s a great apartment complex,” White said. “The amenities there are fantastic, you really can’t ask for much more. All the apartments come pre-furnished … so that makes moving into the apartment basically hassle-free.” 

A second characteristic which may be a disadvantage for some, but isn’t for White, is the distance from Grounds. 

“I know it has a stigma of being super far away from Grounds and all that, but it’s really not that bad of a walk because first year I lived in Lile[-Maupin], and it probably took me about 15 minutes to get to the Rotunda, and it’s about the same distance now,” White said. “Even if you don’t like walking, there’s a trolley stop right there, so you have that option as well.” 

1815 Jefferson Park Avenue 

Located on Jefferson Park Avenue close to Scott Stadium, 1815 JPA offers unfurnished four-bedroom apartments complete with all major appliances, including a laundry room with a full-size washer and dryer. Depending on the floor plan chosen, apartments generally come with one or two balconies and feature a breakfast bar, in addition to large living and dining areas. 

Monthly rent at 1815 ranges from $2,550 to $2,650 per unit.

Fourth-year College student Shami Thakur’s decision to live at 1815 was mainly motivated by affordability, as well as having friends living there. 

“Most of my friends live here for a reasonable price,” Thakur said. “I lived at 1819 for the past two years, so it was also an upgrade since it’s cleaner and more spacious. It has a big living room and a kitchen, which is convenient for cooking as well as studying.”

In addition to upscale accomodations, 1815 also boasts a close proximity to Central Grounds — a roughly 15 minute walk — and is especially close to the Engineering School. Student parking is available outside the complex, and bus stops nearby provide access to the UTS Inner Loop line. 

Thakur also said she enjoys 1815 for its social aspect. Located a short walk away from other housing options at Kent Terrace, 1819, Montebello Circle and others, the area is especially popular with third- and fourth-years looking for a greater share of independence further away from Grounds.

“I like that most of my friends are a few steps away,” Thakur said. “As a fourth-year, everyone tends to get busy, so it’s nice running into friends on the way to classes or on bus-stops.”

While the initial price tag may seem steep at first, Thakur said the cost is manageable and matches the quality of the accomodations.

“I am graduating at the end of this school year. However, if my friends lived here again next year, I sure would consider it,” Thakur said.

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