Silver Oaks apartments transformed to student housing

Megan Wilkinson

KentWired Video

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Video by Anthony Ezzo

The Silver Oaks apartment complex next to Kent State changed its name to University Oaks during winter break.

Jason Swierczynski, property manager of University Oaks, said construction on the new complex began in the middle of December. The complex can house up to 520 students.

“The fact that it is so close to the university is ideal for people without cars or not wanting to pay housing fees,” Swierczynski said.

In addition to changing the name of the complex, Silver Oaks Drive is now called Golden Oaks Drive. Swierczynski said the apartments will cost between $455 to $799 per person, depending on the room layout.

Students began to look at the new housing options this week. Some students said they were unsure whether they would want to live in the complex, though.

“I think it’s real sad that they’re doing that to those who have been there so long,” said Brenda Balut, junior fine arts major. “I think they should have found a different area where people weren’t living to build student housing.”

Displaced Residents

Before turning to University Oaks, the complex housed 180 to 200 senior citizens as a retirement community. Marilyn Holloway, a former Silver Oaks resident, said most residents had to leave the complex by Oct. 1.

“When it started to empty out, it was like going through a ghost town,” Holloway said. “It was a small town community, and that town was wiped out.”

Holloway said only two senior citizens are left at the apartment complex. Both are expected to be gone by the end of this week. Neither residents wanted to comment.

Swierczynski said Capstone Development Corp. tried to help the senior citizens find new housing and moving services.

“I know their loyalty here. This was their home and community,” Swierczynski said. “I think it was nice of Capstone to help out as much as they could.”

Silver Oaks residents went through monetary settlements and mediations throughout December. Bridget Susel, acting community development director for the city of Kent, said all mediations were finalized by the start of the year.

About 10 of the former Silver Oaks residents expressed interest in lobbying with legislators to add age protection to the fair housing law. Holloway said she has been contacting some of the interested seniors about meeting sometime this month.

“None of the plans are official yet, but we will discuss how we can go about changing the legislations and who we need to contact,” Holloway said. “I guess we’ll all learn as we go.”

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].