Delayed completion of Burnham 310 leaves students scrambling to find new apartments

By Stephen Spector

Between the jet-skiing and beach volleyball matches, Cari Silverman loved being away at overnight camp for the summer. When her e-mail box popped open with an urgent message from Burnham 310, a storm clouded the summer breeze.

“It said that I wasn’t going to be able to move in right away,” recalls Silverman, graduate student. “I was scared out of my mind. I was so upset.”

The e-mail, dated July 11, informed to-be tenants that the completion of Burnham 310 was temporary delayed. Leasers would not be able to move in August 25, but no later than October 31.

“I felt uncomfortable because I was away from home and there was a big decision to be made,” Silverman said. “Burnham offered interim housing for the time being, but I wasn’t sure if that’s where I wanted to live.”

Burnham 310 secured several alternative housing options for their signed tenants.

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“I went online right away and started looking for alternative places to live. It was mid-July and the start of the school year was coming up,” Silverman said. “A lot of places don’t have pictures on the Internet and it was hard to get in contact with property mangers.”

Silverman eventually made contact with a real estate agent who recommended The Village at Colbert Park in Savoy.

But the news of the postponed opening was frightening for graduate student Caroline Belloff.

“I spent my undergraduate days at Wisconsin,” Belloff said. “So finding out that I didn’t have a place to live in Champaign was like being homeless in a foreign city.”

What to do next was Belloff’s first priority as she realized that no matter how many times she complained, living in the Burnham 310 complex at the beginning of the school year was unrealistic.

“I was nervous to make a commitment where to live for the fall semester,” Belloff said. “I wound up at The Village in Savoy and I can’t really complain.”

Although the building plans to authorize tenants to move in Oct. 31, the upper floors will not be entirely complete. The original target date for opening was Aug. said property manager Theresa Kamerer.

Silverman canceled her fall contract with Burnham 310.

“I didn’t want the hassle of moving mid-semester with law school,” Silverman said. “Plus, I’m really happy right now at the Village.”

The inconvenience factor is one that looms over many Burnham 310 tenants.

“A lot of us would be happier if they were up-front,” Silverman added. “Obviously [Green Street] 309 is far less complete than Burnham, but they have people living there already. Burnham should have worked floor by floor. That would have gotten people in there a lot faster.”

“I’m very happy at the Village, but the most difficult thing is that it’s far away from the nightlife,” Silverman said. “You definitely can’t walk back and forth. I wouldn’t suggest living here if you didn’t have a car.””Nobody ever wants to be displaced from their apartment,” Silverman said. “But, that’s life.”