Glen Oaks Board approves design and construction of on-campus student housing;
groundbreaking for 120-bed facility is expected in summer, pending USDA loan approval

The Glen Oaks Community College Board of Trustees voted to proceed with the bidding, design and construction of a $6.5 million, 120-bed student housing facility on the Glen Oaks campus. Subject to final approval on a USDA low-interest loan, groundbreaking is expected to take place in early summer with plans for the facility to open with the commence of the Fall, 2017 semester.

“We’ve been working together with the board on this project for over a year now,” said Dr. David Devier, Glen Oaks president. “We conducted a feasibility study, visited other community college residence halls in the state, and have visited with housing representatives from those colleges to better prepare for this project.”

“Eight of the 28 community colleges in the state now have student housing,” said Devier. “Over the past several months, members of the board and college visited on-campus housing facilities 62249 Shimmel Rd., Centreville, MI 49032 (269) 467.9945 or toll-free (888) 994.7818 at Jackson, Lake Michigan and Southwest Michigan Colleges and spent time with their residence hall staffs to learn about the challenges and issues that come with student housing. We formed a Housing Steering committee with representation from the board, faculty, staff and students and they have been working to identify the important features to incorporate in an ideal on-campus housing facility for students on a rural campus.”

Initially, the college looked at working with an investor, but the USDA bonding process offered attractive, low-interest governmental loan rates that benefit overall costs. By lowering costs, the college can pass on those savings to students in the form of lower housing costs.

The college has received preliminary approval from the USDA for a low interest, 40-year loan to fund the project.

“The largest segment of our students is under 20 years of age,” said Devier. “With the launch of the Early Middle College initiative, the 13th-year tuition is paid for by the state, so it becomes even more attractive for students to stay on campus where they are still close to home but can have the “traditional” residential college experience of being on their own.”

Preliminary plans call for the project to consist of 120-beds and is likely to be three to four stories high.

“We are looking at two- and four-suite units that share kitchen and living areas and two bathrooms,” said Devier. “We know we need to have entertainment/activity areas and affordable rent rates. The goal is to break ground this summer and have the new hall open by fall, 2017.”

Glen Oaks Community College is a quality provider of education programs serving the needs of residents and businesses of St. Joseph County and beyond. The College, established in 1965, sits on 320 acres of land in rural Centreville, Michigan. GOCC offers 15 associate degree programs and 21 certificate programs. The student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1 affords students personal attention and provides opportunities to for them to accomplish their goals and grow and succeed in a supportive, ethical and academic environment.