VSU students express concern on Magnolia Reserve move-in issues

This isn’t only affecting students, but parents as well. One mother drove four hours and paid for a Uhaul— just for the property to say they can't move in yet.
Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 5:25 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Some Valdosta State University students are still living in hotels or staying with friends because their off-campus housing apartment is still not ready. Some students tell WALB they’re struggling and they’re not sure what to do.

“I’m contemplating moving somewhere else because you really don’t know what to expect with Magnolia Reserve,” Kayla Faulks, a Magnolia Reserve tenant, said.

Magnolia Reserve Student Housing Apartments is supposed to be a new off-campus housing option that could house over 200 students.

In March of 2023, they reported that students would be able to move on Aug. 1, but since then the move date has changed several times. The most recent provided move-in date was Aug. 26, but that has changed again as well.

“They didn’t tell us until the 23rd, which is kind of a setback because you would think they would tell us earlier than that,” Kayla said. “I was trying to move into my apartment before, that way it’s not conflicting with school. But when school started, it was a setback because now, I have to worry about school, worry about where I’m going to stay, and worry about if I’m going to be OK at night.”

Students had two options for August since they weren’t able to move in. They could pay a discounted rent and the apartment owner would pay for a hotel and give them a stipend. Or they can pay no rent and find somewhere to stay until the apartment is ready.

“It’s kind of different because I can’t cook in there either, so I have to constantly buy food outside and I don’t want to do that. The money that I could’ve been saving for my rent is going towards food, laundry for the hotel, all of that,” Kayla said.

This isn’t only affecting students, but their parents as well. One mother drove four hours and paid for a Uhaul— just for the property to tell the students they couldn’t move in.

“Then they tell them you’re going to move in on the first, then the first turned into the 11th, the 11th turns into the 19th, then that turns into the 25th. And now I don’t even know what date they are moving in. Speaking to the owner, he tries to brush me off. He’s worried about how much money he’s losing,” Phyllis Amihere-Faulks, the mother of Kayla, said.

Magnolia Reserve is paying for storage units for all tenants.

WALB reached out to the property owner for an update regarding the matter and he stated “We are working with our general contractor (GC) to resolve the issue with getting the power in all apartments. We are very hopeful the solution that the GC has provided will take place soon. Our GC is also working with the City of Valdosta to reply water meters. They have been installed in one building. We want to help our tenants. We are working with them, providing hotel accommodations and a stipend during this transition time.”