Construction delays leave hundreds of UGA students with no place to live

CBS46 News at 9 p.m. (M-F PeachtreeTV) - VOD
Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 7:48 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Hundreds of UGA students are unable to move into a new student housing complex because the building is still one big construction site.

“Kind of by the spring semester I was like this, I feel like this will not be done in time because it was supposed to be done in July. And I called maybe once a month and they’d be like, ‘Oh, everything is fine,’” said Jake McGhee, a UGA student who was supposed to move into the William at the start of the semester.

Delayed construction at the William Athens has displaced residents to the Spring Hill Suites hotel and Holiday Inn in Athens.

“A vast majority of people were forced to share a hotel room, oftentimes with a stranger,” said Jake.

According to a Facebook post, limited material and labor shortages forced construction delays at the Williams Athens apartment complex. It continues:

”Despite our best efforts to continue such hotel accommodations, the hotels can no longer accommodate our residents after September 17th, 2022. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to locate acceptable alternative housing.”

Residents are now being offered several options for what to do, including accepting a $2,500 gift card to help with temporary housing while the apartment complex continues to be built or students can terminate their contract with the complex with no penalty, but signing away the rights to hold the complex liable.

“We’re not going to stay with the William and we’re not going to release liability. They broke the contract,” said Jake.

“I just feel bad for some of the other kids. Maybe they don’t have a car, maybe their parents aren’t as involved, maybe they’re international students that don’t have that network of support, so they’re just hung out to dry,” said Will McGhee, Jake’s dad.

A Facebook group has been created by parents whose kids are now displaced. One mom commented:

”The developers and all that are involved with this project have been misrepresenting this project from the start. Your social media campaign has been false advertising all the way. How dare you use these students and take their money and leave them to be homeless and broke.”

A UGA student and resident of the William posted:

“I wasn’t prepared at all for an additional delay. I get it, things happen, however with this delay I may have to just turn tail and exit Athens for the time being. I simply don’t have a family to ask for help.”

The William hasn’t posted when construction is supposed to be done. The apartments were initially supposed to be ready to move in by the start of the semester, which was a month ago. CBS46 has reached out to the complex, as well as to the city of Athens and the University of Georgia.