Appalachian State University is expanding its off-campus housing options with construction set to begin next year.

There are almost 18,000 full-time Appalachian State students taking classes in Boone, but only enough on-campus housing for just over a third of them.

That’s a problem when housing options in town are limited, and not just for students. According to a study for the High Country Association of Realtors, more than 85 percent of people employed in Boone live outside the town due to the relatively high cost.

The university’s latest step in its long-range plan to address the issue calls for creating space for more than 800 students at its Appalachian 105 site off of North Carolina Highway 105. That’s about two miles from campus.

Matt Dull, associate vice chancellor for finance and operations in the Division of Student Affairs, says the public-private project is needed because there’s almost no room in Boone’s apartment market.

“So that means that we've had pretty high rental rate increases in the past four to five years," he says. "Because there's no competition out there. There's no vacancies.”

The university is looking for building partners for the project and construction is expected to begin next fall, Dull says.

Students aren’t the only ones affected by the housing shortage. Construction is underway to add more than 150 below-market-rate housing units in Boone for App State employees. 

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