By David Demarco, Editor
During the fall semester, SCC hired the firm Brailsford & Dunlavey to conduct a study about the possibility of a student housing project here on campus. After receiving the results, it was decided that the college would hold off on the possibility of student housing and revisit the subject at a later date.
The study was conducted in three stages. Student focus groups were the first step of information gathering and were held on Sept. 18. A student survey was sent out through school emails on Oct. 1 and ran through Oct. 11. It totaled 672 replies, which is roughly 9 percent of SCC’s student body. The third component was a financial model used to layout the possible cost of the project.
As many expected, the idea of student housing received a positive reception from most students. The majority felt that it would be a positive addition to our campus. Some feel it would help create a more traditional college setting. However, there is a number of students that feel a project like this would change the identity of SCC and become unappealing to non-traditional students.
The desire for student housing was visible from the survey. For part time students, 34 percent felt on-campus housing was a high or very high priority. For full-time students, 44 percent agreed. For students that rent elsewhere and do not live with parents or family, almost half believed that housing was of high or very high in importance to them.
Students across the board were in agreement that single occupancy was the most desired option, even more important than private bathrooms.
As for amenities, students feel there are a number of things that would be necessary if they were to live on campus. Convenient parking was deemed the most important. Other important amenities were to have an available kitchen, study spaces and a meal plan. These however were not as important to students as keeping costs low. According to the report, the students’ concerns about price need to be kept in mind for such a project.
However, students being price-conscious might not be the only concern. The project itself is costly and there’s going to be some hesitance making such a huge investment. “My biggest concern comes from a financial perspective,” said SCC Vice President of Administrative Services Todd Galbierz. “Can we build a facility that enhances the students’ experience here at SCC while being certain that the project is financially sustainable for many years to come?”
After the study was completed, the decision was made to suspend the student housing project.“The studenhousing project has been put on hold,” said Galbierz. “Based on the research, analysis and many discussions, the decision has been made to not move forward with the project at this time. The college may revisit this topic again in the coming years.”
This might come as a disappointment to many. With such an investment, SCC had the chance to evolve into a more elite group of community colleges in the area. Student housing would provide a whole new element and tremendously help those students cut down cost of living on their own. The convenience of housing would also make life easier for students who spend a lot of time on school between classes, activities and sports. It would also help students adjust to a traditional college setting for those who have plans of transferring once they have completed their time at SCC.
The biggest factor in decision making for any project is demand and cost. In this case, both did not mix well enough for SCC to move forward at this given moment. In the future, this topic will be revisited again and hopefully SCC will take the step many community colleges have in our area. If the demand is there and there’s confidence of financial stability, the generation of students after the current one will be able to experience a more traditional college. SCC would ascend into a more elite community college in the area and provide students the college experience they may desire.