There’s just not enough room for Lon Morris College’s burgeoning student population on campus, but that will not deter the college from following through with new programs to attract even more students.
And with the addition of new hospitality, restaurant and tourism management program planned to attract more students, and new sports programs such as a football team, a women’s volleyball program, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s golf, the problem can only stand to worsen.
President Miles McCall said that if the next school year sees an estimated 850 full-time students, about 100 of them could end up having to find their own housing options.
“We completed the Cooper House in November, and that has 36 beds in it,” McCall said. “We’ll have a new facility we hope to bring online in August called The Lodge, and it will house around 114.”
McCall said the school plans to continue using the Trade Winds Motel and America’s Best Value Inn to house students next year as well, bringing the total campus-controlled bed count to about 750.
“There’s just shy of 400 folks on campus now,” he said. “We have about 250 living in the two hotels.”
One thing the campus will do to allow space for incoming freshman will be to teach sophomores how to live in the surrounding community, McCall said.
“This leaves the door open for incoming freshmen,” he said. “They may say, ‘If I don’t have housing then I’m not coming.’”
A few options the college has to expand housing include converting the five homes owned by the college but not used for student housing to house students.
McCall said they are currently used as faculty locations because in the past there were no students to place in them.
Another possibility is the outright purchase of hotel facilities for long-term lodging. In addition, McCall said private investors have an interest in building another hall like The Lodge for the campus, and he added the college is pursuing donors to see if money can be donated for another location like the Cooper House.
However, the current housing options will likely cause some students to seek alternate housing, such as apartments, McCall said.
“We’ll try to build more housing and try to make arrangements next year to have 700-740 beds available,” he said. “It is likely we’ll be in some sort of hotel facilities next year.”
He also said about 100 students are currently housed in non campus-controlled housing.
“Most campuses are fighting to get students to live on campus, and we’re fighting to have students life off campus,” McCall said. “It’s a good problem to have, but it’s tricky.”