Extending along the western side of campus between West Chimes Street and Skip Bertman Drive lies Nicholson Gateway, providing residents with a view of Tiger Stadium on one side and the Mississippi River on the other.
Brought about by a shortage of on-campus housing at the Univerity, the complex comprises seven residential halls, a University Recreation space, a local grocery store called Matherne’s Market and 1,550 new parking spaces including a parking garage. A retail area still in development will include Starbucks, Wendy’s, Frutta Bowls, Private Stock Sneakers and Apparel, along with several unannounced venues including a rooftop restaurant.
"I don’t think students yet can conceptualize how it’s really going to be like a traditional neighborhood development," said Associate Director of Communications and Development Catherine David. "You’ll have everything you need right here."
The project has been in the works since 2012, its completion amounted to $235 million and was funded by a public-private partnership with RISE: A Real Estate Company.
Students began moving into their apartments Aug. 9. The University offers 10-month and 12-month leases. The cost of rent per semester ranges from $4,000-$7,000, and the summer rent ranges from $2,000-$3,600.
International business and finance freshman Charles Klous, who is a resident of Nicholson Gateway, is pleased with both the setup and location of the University’s latest housing complex.
"I think it’s super nice," Klous said. "It’s modern. It’s spacious. I think it’s great to be able to just walk downstairs and get my food. It’s not really a long walk to class either."
Nicholson Gateway enforces similar security measures that can be found among other on-campus housing locations. Residents must use their LSU PAWS IDs to swipe into each apartment building, to use the elevators and to access their rooms along with a four-digit PIN code. There are also three 24-hour help desks.
David said that the University is doing everything to keep its residents safe in a convenient manner.
"We don’t grant access to anybody that doesn’t live here," David said. "As long as you’re not disturbing your roommates or the community, [then] visitation is 24 hours. RAs are not here to be watchdogs, or anything like that. They’re a resource."
Chemistry graduate student Isaac Dos Reis said he already feels safe at Nicholson Gateway.
"One of the big reasons I decided to live on campus is because it felt safer than going off campus," Dos Reis said. "I wanted the peace of mind. That’s a big reason why I came here."
While some residents see the various levels of security as an effective safety tool, others see it as an inconvenience. Theatre junior Streisand Zeno said the card-swiping requirements are difficult for having friends over.
"If I want to have a little get-together, I have to go all the way downstairs to open the door and get my guest up the elevator," Zeno said. "[The University] advertised the apartments to be guest friendly, with the pictures in advertisements that depicted friends having a gathering on game day. [This implied] that it would be great for such events, and it is nothing of the sort."
Residential Assistant and Psychology Prelaw sophomore Gracie Wilburn said the view from her room was the first thing she noticed when she moved in.
"I have three huge windows that cover my wall, and I can see over Tiger Stadium [and] into campus," Wilburn said. "I’m on call for the LA Tech game, and I’m literally just going to sit in my room and watch the game from the big screen because I can see it clear as day."