Brigham Young University plans to build 400 new married-student housing units, a plan that is being met with praise by city leaders.

The new housing units would be built over the next five years at the site of BYU's current poultry center and Wyview married-housing mobile home lot, where 150 aging mobile homes currently housing married students would be destroyed.If approved, the three-phase process would begin in January 1996 with the demolishing of the current poultry center at 2230 North. New housing units would be built at the site, and the poultry facility will be downsized and moved to a site north of the current Elsworth building.

Phase two of the proposal includes moving half of the residents of the current Wyview mobile home lot south of Cougar stadium into the new buildings. Half the mobile homes would be removed from the 21.8-acre site. New units would be built on that half of the site and the remaining Wyview residents would be moved into those units before the rest of the mobile homes were removed. The plan calls for increasing the number of units per acre from 6.9 to 18.

All three phases are expected to be complete before 1999.

"I don't expect to see any big obstacles, both the city and the BYU Board of trustees are aware of the proposal," said BYU spokesman Brent Harker. "We still need to go through the whole approval process, but there shouldn't be any problems getting it through."

"I have visited with President Lee and R.J. Snow. We are aware of their plans and are very supportive of what they plan to do," said Provo Mayor George Stewart. "It's a great service that BYU is doing to the community."

Harker said the proposal stems from a shortage of housing for married students, and the need to replace aging mobile homes at the Wyview site.

"Some of those trailers are in the 25-year-old range," he said. "As I have driven through the place they do look pretty vintage."

Stewart said the new apartment buildings should help relieve a housing crunch for married BYU students that forces many couples to pay high prices for small units. Student housing officials say couples can expect to wait anywhere from 18 months to two years before they can rent one of the 1,038 lower-priced campus apartments. A two-bedroom apartment rents for $335.

"I really do feel that we have a married-student housing crisis," Stewart said. "My married son pays up to $475 a month for a small one-bedroom apartment. I believe in the market economy of supply and demand, so hopefully 400 new places will bring things back into a proper balance with rent prices."

"Even though it's not on the tax rolls, we are very supportive of this proposal," Stewart said.