Lon Morris College officials announced Friday they plan to pull all students out of America’s Best Value Inn at the end of the fall semester.
LMC administration made the decision after ongoing discussions with community members, according to a LMC press release.
“We have listened to the neighborhood concerns and think this is what is best for the College and the Jacksonville community at this time,” said Gene Brumbelow, chairperson of Lon Morris College Board of Trustees in the release.
According to the release, students currently housed at the motel will finish the semester there then will be moved to either on-campus housing or to rental properties around town.
“We are committed to providing a safe environment for our students and the residents of Jacksonville,” said LMC President Dr. Miles McCall in the release. “We are committed to growing the college and the Jacksonville economy.”
The Lodge, a new on-campus dormitory, will open in the spring, providing approximately 160 beds for students now housed at the motel.
The Lodge will bring the number of students housed on campus to approximately 600. LMC recently celebrated enrollment numbers at or around 1,000.
Students from the motel not getting a bed at The Lodge will be housed in rental properties.
LMC officials asked community members with available rental properties to contact the school.
“We are confident that all on-campus beds will be full in the spring,” said Dean of Students and Chaplain Rev. M. Rhett Ansley in the release. “Therefore, we encourage Jacksonville residents who own rental property to call our Housing Coordinator at 903-589-4064. We will post all available local housing options in our housing office for students to see.”
In early September, community members living near America’s Best Value Inn came to the Daily Progress voicing complaints about activity around the motel. Complaints included loud noise until early morning hours and burglary of a vehicle.
A week later, LMC students and other males from out of town got into a fight at the motel’s location and two shots were fired on the property, though no one was injured.
A closed-door meeting with residents in the area was scheduled before the shooting occured.
Following the meeting, LMC held an open house at the motel, increased security and patrol around the makeshift dorm, and added amenities for the students, including an activity room.