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Campus housing in discussion between board of trustees and foundation

The foundation has been looking into purchasing apartment complexes exclusively for UCC students. The project is in the “pre-preliminary stages,” according to UCC President Joe Olson.
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The foundation has been looking into purchasing apartment complexes exclusively for UCC students. The project is in the “pre-preliminary stages,” according to UCC President Joe Olson.

UCC has never had a form of on campus housing for students for the last fifty years.

The Foundation has issued a request “to select and contract with a real estate broker to provide real estate services for the organization,” according to the May board report. 

UCC Foundation was looking into purchasing “multi-family complexes” in hopes of providing housing opportunities for UCC students in Douglas County.

“I’ve had mixed feelings about housing at community colleges. They typically don’t have enough support. We have no campus police. There is concern about what might happen in these units,” UCC President Joe Olson said.

The Foundation, as of press time, was not looking to build apartments or dorms on the main Campus property, but rather purchase existing complexes in the county through Century21. The particular unit the Foundation was looking into purchasing fell through, but they are still looking into the possibility of campus housing, according to a source from the Foundation.

Campus-affiliated housing will be a large project that will take a significant amount of time to complete.  There is no timeline for this project yet, according to Olson. 

Athletic Director Cheryl Yoder has been actively supporting campus housing for over ten years. She believes campus-affiliated housing will greatly benefit the athletic department, as athletics bring in students from across the Pacific Northwest. 

“A lot of our athletes come from out of area. Having our athletes living together will have obvious benefits. They can study together, carpool and there are social benefits. We’ve wanted dorms for a long time,” Yoder said.

Another goal would be affordable housing for students.

The average cost for a student athlete’s meals and housing for the 2011-2012 school year was approximately $5,900 per year, according to research provided by Yoder. Non-athletic students run similar expenses, according to Yoder.

“As I feel campus housing is more expensive than living on your own, the biggest obstacle for students will be cost,” pre-pharmacy student and 2014-15 ASUCC President Kristopher Yates said.

Approximately 100 community colleges across the United States have campus-afflicted or on-campus housing. Two community colleges in Oregon, Southwestern Oregon Community College and Treasure Valley Community College offer on-campus housing.  First year students who live on campus have a higher retention rate, according to a study conducted by the University of Iowa.

The majority of the community college campuses need on-campus housing when the campus is located where students may have trouble commuting.

“I’m more open to the concept [of community college housing], especially in rural areas, such as Douglas County. For some students it can take up to an hour to get to UCC,” Olson said.

Yates shared the same concern. “I think on-campus housing would be very beneficial for students, especially for those students who live very far away,” Yates said.

Buses only run to Winston and South County once per day, which is a struggle for students who rely on public transportation. Some students are forced to remain on campus the entire day, in order to get a ride home.

“When I first came to UCC, I had to be on campus from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Basically, I was stranded away from home all day,” said student R.J. Harris.

Another problem is that Winston and Myrtle Creek city officials are struggling to find the funding necessary to keep Umpqua Transit functioning, which could leave students who rely on public transportation without a ride to campus fall term. 

Any campus housing should be within Umpqua Transit’s route, according to Yoder. 

CIS student Daniel Arredondo wants to see student housing be a priority, as he knows of several students who are homeless. “I know several students who are homeless. Campus housing would be helpful,” Arredondo said.

Sociology major Michael Lewis shared the same concerns about homeless classmates. “I would support on-campus housing because, if the Foundation and the college can make housing affordable for students, I have seen several student on campus who are homeless and I think housing should be a priority,” Lewis said.

Douglas County has a variety of housing units available, but students often have trouble getting into and maintaining residency while going to school, according to a 2000 presentation by Dan Yoder, interim IT director.

While student housing is an enticing topic the project is in the “pre-preliminary” stages with no timeline, according to Olson.