Glen Mor: Two halves of a whole

Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER
Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER

After nearly two years of construction, the second installment of the Glen Mor student apartments opened its doors to new UCR residents this fall. Coined “Glen Mor Phase 2” during its developing stages, the new buildings are connected to the original Glen Mor by a raised bridge that connects the two sections. Initially slated for completion last year, the construction project was further delayed to alleviate stringent construction scheduling and negative environmental impacts on the surrounding land.

According to Assistant Vice Chancellor of Housing, Dining and Residential Services Andy Plumley, the university “went to great efforts to connect the two phases of Glen Mor so that it works as one community.” Since an arroyo already existed before construction began, Glen Mor Resident Services Assistant Anissa Monteon explained that “(The builders) didn’t want to disturb it too much so they put in some rocks to help with drainage,” and so they constructed a bridge over it to link the two communities.

As a hybrid between dorm- and apartment-style communities, the new Glen Mor structures can house approximately 800 students and shoulders the cost of $155 million — $100 million more than the older Glen Mor buildings completed in 2007 — which includes construction, contracting and furnishing fees. The overall project was financed via debt funding, in which money was borrowed through a bond and then paid back via UCR student housing fees.

Excited about the facilities, Monteon said that the first residents had moved in on Sept. 19 with a few still trickling in every day. New Glen Mor residents will pay the same fees as their sister apartment residents, which range from $1,170 to $1,285 per month — and remain the highest monthly rent among the six UCR campus apartments. This facility will also house new paid staff, which includes a resident director, eight resident advisors and 13 student workers in the current Resident Services Office.

Additionally, the new buildings boast features such as an Academic Resource Center, a computer lab, a gaming lounge, a fitness room and a three-level parking garage with 600 spaces. Monteon described the parking structure as “the first of its kind” and noted that no other on-campus facility has a garage for its occupants. “Residents were very excited about that,” Monteon expressed.

The new Glen Mor structures have also sought to incorporate sustainability and eco-friendly features into the new apartment community, such as a vegetable and spice garden, a solar-heated pool system and energy-efficient lighting. Though prior to construction neighboring citizens raised concerns about environmental conservation and noise pollution, the Glen Mor buildings have attempted to adapt to their surroundings.

“There’s a desert theme to (the buildings),” said Monteon. “You don’t have to worry about any water being wasted. It’s energy efficient and eco-friendly.” To minimize water resources, the plumbing fixtures all have a low-flow design and the landscape features indigenous, drought-tolerant plants. As a result of these green efforts, Glen Mor Phase 2 has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification and is the only on-campus UCR apartment with this recognition.

Additionally, Glen Mor Phase 2 will feature its very own convenience market and HUB-style dining area called The Market at Glen Mor, which opened on Aug. 27 to both residents and the campus at large. It will feature normal Scotty’s fare such as snacks and drinks but with the addition of grocery-store style food. “As Glen Mor residents are in apartments, we will be offering items that they can use to cook and clean,” explained Plumley. The Market will also feature a grill and hot meals where on-campus residents can spend their dining dollars.

For new Glen Mor residents Alex Lara and Raymundo Reyes, they are just grateful that the new apartments are close to school. “I’m surprised about the layout,” said Lara, seeming impressed. “I didn’t think it would be this nice.” Reyes agreed and added that the new sustainability features did not diminish his favorite part of living there: “I like the air conditioning best,” he admitted.

Glen Mor residents can also look forward to one more final luxury: a new Starbucks will open near The Market at Glen Mor in winter 2014. “The Starbucks that will be coming soon has indoor seating and will serve as community meeting spot, or just a great place to relax and study. There are numerous outlets for the use of electronic devices, and background music to create a great vibe. The outdoor seating area is equipment with heaters in case students just want to dine alfresco,” said Cheryl Garner, executive director of dining services.

As for new building plans, Plumley asserts that the campus will grow to accommodate UCR’s blooming new student population. “An increase in new freshmen will mean we will need to build another residence hall.”

Glen Mor is located on the corner of Big Springs Road and Valencia Drive where it spans 567,000 square feet. The Glen Mor apartments only accept housing applications from second-year UCR students and above.

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