SUNY Adirondack joins list of local community colleges adding dorms
Our Matt Hunter takes a look at what's behind the trend of local community colleges breaking the traditional mold and building dorms for students.
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QUEENSBURY, N.Y. – Students at SUNY Adirondack will be sharing their campus with construction crews in the months ahead as they break ground on the school's first ever student housing complex.
Administrators announced plans for the 148,000 square foot, $25.5 million project last week.
"To be proactive, the college believes by adding student housing we'll be able to increase the access for higher education and be able to attract students from outside of the area into the campus community to take advantage of our strong academic programs," Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Brian Durant said.
With growing demand from students and a spike in popularity of community colleges because of lower cost, administrators say the timing for dorms is right.
Adirondack joins a growing list of local community colleges, including Dutchess County and Fulton-Montgomery -- that have had plans in the works for some time. Schenectady County Community College recently broke ground on its first dorms.
"As community colleges, part of our mission is to be flexible and adaptive to the needs of our community,” said Martha Asselin, SCCC’s Vice President of Student Affairs. “What our community is staying to us is they'd really like to be able to stay right on the residential property."
New York State regulations prevent community colleges from owning and maintaining student housing, so what schools like SUNY Adirondack and Schenectady County Community College have done is setup single member LLCs to finance and manage the dorms.
Many of the local dorm projects, including SCCC's, are being constructed by the United Group, a company that specializes in student housing. Company reps say it's impossible to ignore the new trend at community colleges.
"We've actually done student housing at four community colleges, this being our fourth,” United Group Social Media Director Joe Uccellini said. “We're finding that students who go to community college do want the college life, it's just that it cost them more money to go to those schools."
Given the economic climate and ultra-competitive job market, school administrators agree the trend isn't one that's likely to go away.
"Open access to higher education, which is what our community colleges offer to people, is something that a lot of students need,” Durant said. “It's affordable, it's accessible and student housing would allow them to have a full college experience just like the traditional colleges and universities have had for years."
SUNY Adirondack is expected to break ground in April and have the project complete in time for the Fall 2013 semester.