By Nathan Straus
A new residence hall is in the works for Lon Morris College.
The new dwelling structure is the latest idea in a series of constructions made to help the college keep up with continued growth. Dr. Miles McCall, Lon Morris president, said the new dormitory building will be fashioned into a style known as a lodge.
“You have each room leading out into a common area with a lodge,” Dr. McCall said. “This style of development is safer and provides conservation of energy.”
Because of the design, unused rooms with air conditioning and heating can be turned off while occupied rooms are kept climate controlled. Each individual room has its own heating and air system. This is different from older hall designs where an entire building must be kept on even if only one room is occupied.
There is a need for the new housing, Dr. McCall said, because of the tremendous growth in student population predicted for the two-year school.
“We’re as high as 90 beds short,” he said.
The new residence hall, which could be built at the northwestern edge of the Lon Morris campus, may be ready as early as January provided there are no serious setbacks. This dormitory will include space for 64 beds. This is in addition to the 32-bed dormitory set to be completed before fall.
Dr. McCall said the expansion is a plan three years in the making and will require a zone change request approved by the Jacksonville City Council. Once approved, Dr. McCall said construction could start 45 days after approval.
Lodge style housing is different from hall style housing, which has a series of rooms opening into a long hall.
“If the parents don’t like the residence offerings, they have options now,” he also said.
In addition to lodge and hall style housing, the college will also offer rent houses, or “cottages,” and the option to live off campus.
“We will for the first time change our housing policy,” Dr. McCall stated. “Students can choose off-campus living now.”
The planning process for the new residence halls has included student focus groups to determine what incoming freshmen want to see.
A group of private investors and local builders are involved in the upcoming construction. A named donor has not come forward as of Tuesday, Dr. McCall said.
Payment for the housing will come from the residency fees of students who occupy it.
Lon Morris College received around 1,100 applications this year, of which 534 were accepted. Dr. McCall said this signifies significant growth over last year’s figure of 346 applications with 144 accepted students. In addition, 66 room deposits were received last year, and this year’s number of deposits is over 300.
“Growth is challenging in these difficult economic times, but our goal is to grow the student population,” Dr. McCall said.
By Nathan Straus
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