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Off-Campus housing options compete for top spot

The University of Maine takes pride in its wide array of housing options available to students on campus. In addition to the on-campus options, UMaine students have many other options in the surrounding Orono and Old Town areas that many students opt for once they’ve gotten a taste of on-campus living. Each fall, when leasing season hits, the apartment complexes in these areas begin to reach out to students, competing to fill their spots for the following school year. For students looking to move off-campus during their time at UMaine, there are dozens of opportunities to rent and lease apartments or houses in the area that range from affordable to luxurious. The following is a rundown of the big three: The Avenue at Orono, Orchard Trails and The Reserve.

The Avenue at Orono, commonly referred to as the Ave, is a large complex of high-end apartments designed to give college students an aesthetic space where they can get away from the stress of school. There is an array of different layout options, and the base price per month for a standard size, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom is $615 per student per month.

The amenities of the Ave include the largest student housing fitness center in Orono, tanning beds, a hot tub, a yoga studio, a movie theater, a computer lab and a golf simulator. A key feature of The Ave is its bus service, which runs every school day until 6 p.m. and takes students from The Ave to UMaine.

“I love living off-campus. The dorms were a classic college experience, but I have way more freedom in an apartment,” fourth-year psychology student and resident of The Ave, Taylor Chomicz, said. “Being able to cook, having my own room and bathroom and all of the other freedoms that come with living on my own put me in a much better mental state than when I was in the dorms. The separation between school and home life also helps with the ability to do my school work and do well in my classes. Overall, I wouldn’t trade my dorm experience for anything, but I love living in an apartment now.”  

Orchard Trails Apartments is one of the competitors of The Ave. Located right next to campus and Aroma Joes, the apartment complex comes with standard four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments that start at $440 per month. These apartments also include amenities such as a clubhouse, a tanning bed, an outdoor grilling station, volleyball court and study lounge. Orchard Trails is the closest apartment complex to campus, which is an attractive feature to many students and allows them to walk or bike to campus if they don’t have a car.

“I personally like living and working at Orchard Trails. It’s better to sign up sooner rather than later so you can get a better rate,” fourth-year athletic training student Nick Soper said. “The lounge is nice and there’s a weight room, tanning bed and computer lab for printing.” 

Similar to both The Ave and Orchard Trails, The Reserve is a complex in between the two price-wise that also offers personal bathrooms and amenities at an affordable rate. A three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment starts pricing at around $530. The Reserve is pet-friendly, fully furnished, has walk-in closets and is also walking distance from UMaine. 

“I loved living at The Reserve because it is pet-friendly and you get a lot of perks living there,” fifth-year education student Brooke Ferris said. “They have community rewards where you can earn gift cards to places like Target or Amazon for completing certain tasks. I also love that they have a gym and a game room.” 

All three of the off-campus apartments have many similar features and amenities, such as gyms and common spaces, and The Ave and Orchard Trails both have shuttle busses to take you to and from campus. Each complex is unique in their prices, rules, features and apartment size, but among these apartment complexes you can find the experience you need. 


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