USquare apartments are located above popular restaurants, including Raising Cane's, Keystone Bar and Grill and Starbucks.

University of Cincinnati Housing Services plans to offer more housing options as both academic enrollment and interest in university-provided housing continue to rise.

This fall, UC experienced a record of nearly 6,700 students living in university-provided housing — roughly 80 percent of first year-students stayed in on-campus or university-leased off-campus residences, according to university spokesperson M.B. Reilly.

Expanding the block-lease program

Carl Dieso, director of housing, said his priority is to increase student housing options by expanding block-lease agreements with local apartment properties. In some cases, the university signed agreements to lease entire apartment complexes.

On Jan. 12, residents of the USquare apartment complex on Calhoun Street received letters informing them that their leases for 2019-2020 will be terminated in August. Residents will not be able to renew leases in the fall, according to one Reddit user.

Dieso said Housing Services plans to enter an agreement with USquare for the entire building in an early effort to increase housing capacity for students.

UC has not yet signed an agreement, as the university must first obtain approval from the board of trustees, said Reilly. However, Reilly said she "fully expect[s] that such will occur at an upcoming board meeting."

The push for more living space stems from an anticipated rise in the number of students interested in living on campus next year. Last semester, the department had more than 7,000 requests for housing, Dieso said.

“It allows students who want to lease directly through UC to be able to continue on,” said Dieso. “It also provides additional spaces for incoming students who want the full campus experience.”

Dieso hopes that upperclassmen students will primarily choose to live in block-leased apartments to allow more freshman to stay in residence halls on campus.

Since UC Housing lets students self-select their housing perference, Dieso said the department will not know the distribution of students living on campus and off campus until August, when the incoming class will begin moving in.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the department has secured agreements with USquare, 101 East Corry, University Edge and The Deacon.

UC Housing has not yet chosen to renew its block lease agreement with the Bear Square (formerly CP Cincy) apartment complex.

Changes on the horizon for Calhoun, Siddall and Daniels

“Maintaining buildings is an annual process for us,” Dieso said. “There is major and minor activity. We have things on wish lists and critical lists.”

While there are no confirmed plans to renovate or reconstruct any residence halls, Dieso confirmed that Calhoun Hall, Siddall Hall and Daniels Hall will need significant attention in the near future. For now, Dieso said he is unsure of the scope of these projects.

Dabney Hall underwent renovation efforts last summer, which included new exterior paint, flooring, furniture, installation of LED lighting and epoxy coating on bathroom floors.

This summer, there are plans to install a passenger elevator to Dabney and update its study rooms. Dabney has good structural integrity, Dieso said, and he does not foresee any reconstruction plans for at least 10 years.

The department will also install new flooring and couches in Turner Hall — the next stage of a project that began in Schneider Hall.

Elizabeth Schmitt was with The News Record since 2016 as staff reporter, news editor and features editor. She was an editorial intern with CityBeat and graduated in May 2019.