Residence Life adds 30 East to on-campus housing lineup

The 30 E. Balbo Dr. building stands at the corner of Wabash Ave. and Balbo Dr. Fully furnished apartments with in-unit laundry will be available for Columbia students next fall through Residence Life. 

By Bridget Ekis and Julia Greene

From its bright colors, to the height of the building itself, it’s hard to miss 30 East when walking through the South Loop. Residence Life determined the building that hugs the corners of Balbo Drive and Wabash Avenue was a good fit for Columbia’s next residential hall.

Residence Life signed a master lease with 30 East, located at 30 E. Balbo Drive, Feb. 8 for a 10-year agreement. During Residence Life’s Contract Renewal Campaign, March 1-29, students can sign up to live at 30 East for the 2019-2020 school year beginning March 12.

Columbia will be occupying floors 3–14, according to Mary Oakes, director of residential operations.

“Gender-inclusive and honors housing will occupy two floors each,” Oakes said. “30 East is down the street from the student center.”

The Fitness Center, Counseling Services and Health Center, currently located at the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court, will relocate due to the addition of 30 East as a residence hall and the ending of Columbia’s lease with 3L Real Estate.

The Fitness Center will move to the student center when completed, and the Health Center and Counseling Services will be moving to the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building, Oakes said.

Sophomore music composition major Baylie Owen has lived at 30 East since May. Owen was attracted to the building for its amenities and said it sounded like a better option than the residence halls The Dwight, 642 S. Clark St., or the Plymouth Building.

Owen was deterred from both The Dwight and Plymouth Building because of rumors she heard about the utilities not being “up-to-par.”

Owen heard about the lease through a letter slid under her door signed by 30 East General Manager Daria Peterson.

The letter informed residents they would not be able to renew their leases if they lived on floors 3–14 since Columbia will be occupying the space. Floors 15–17 will be available for non-Columbia housing.

Owen said she plans to live at 30 East through a housing contract with the college.

Current Plymouth Building residents, such as freshman animation major Helen Grimes, received a Feb. 7 email from Residence Life stating her apartment would be unavailable next year.

“We are giving you an opportunity to get first dibs on a space in our new building if you so wish,” the email said.

“[Plymouth being unavailable] is OK because this was the lesser of all the residence halls at Columbia,” Grimes said.”The new building seems much nicer.”