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Lamoine standing on its last legs

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Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011 2:09 pm | Updated: 1:09 pm, Mon Oct 24, 2011.

Lamoine Village, an apartment complex located at the northwest end of campus off Wigwam Hollow Road, is scheduled to close as of May 31, 2012. The complex has provided housing to families, single graduate students and foreign exchange students since it first opened its doors in 1970.

Lamoine Village contains both one and two bedroom apartments, furnished and unfurnished for a combined total of 136 apartments. According to the University Housing and Dining Service Master Plan, it would cost approximately 13.5 million dollars to renovate Lamoine Village.

"In order to spend that kind of money, the amount of money we would have to charge the residents to live there, it just doesn't make any sense to keep Lamoine Village open," said Bridget McCormick, Graduate and Family Housing Director. "In order to fully restore Lamoine Village to the facility that it should be is just too costly and we wouldn't be competitive in the marketplace.

As far as alternative living arrangements for current residents at Lamoine Village, there will be two informational sessions, one in the fall and one in the spring. These sessions are aimed at fully informing residents of their other housing options around campus, based on their needs.

"We also have plans to meet with the Student Tenant Union to discuss optional living arrangements for the residents of Lamoine Village," McCormick said. "I believe that it is a great community out there but unfortunately we are an institution and we have to follow our current plan that we have set forth.

"We will however have Olsen Hall reopened and we will have an international floor there, which will be opened for at least ten months out of the year. This will provide a place for some of the international students of Lamoine Village to stay during holidays and breaks because they are unable to go home."

Some of the current Lamoine Village residents are not too pleased with the decision to close.

"It feels like our own community out here," said senior law enforcement and justice administration major Juhna Glover, a resident at Lamoine Village. "We don't need the outside world. Some students here at Western may look at us like we are outsiders, but we look at them like they are the strange ones.

"To us, out here is home. Because we are far away from all the other homes on campus, we have built our own community. We don't let anybody move in here without introducing ourselves and meeting them first."

"Some people may say that Lamoine Village is the projects, but it's all we have," Glover said. "Living here is better than living in those jail cells they call dorm rooms. Those places have no kitchens, you don't have your own bathroom. At least here I have space for myself and my kids. We have our own space and our own privacy and to me that's what really counts."

Other residents don't seem to feel the same way.

"I think this place is nasty and I'm glad it's getting shut down," Mica Goldman said. "I think it should have been shut down long ago. We are too far away from campus and everything else in this town. I think it's unhealthy to live here. We have had mold problems in our apartment and I am glad to be moving out.

Personal opinions aside, Lamoine Village will be closed as of May of next year. At this point in time the future of the apartment complex is uncertain and renovations seem unlikely. As for the current residents of Lamoine Village, they will have to find another place to call home.

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