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COCC's new dorm plans taking final shape

By Katie Higgins
Published On: Oct 24 2013 08:56:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2013 09:04:34 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Katie Higgins talked with Central Oregon Community College officials about the approaching project to add a new 330-bed dormitory in Bend

BEND, Ore. -

Central Oregon Community College is in its final stages of designing a new, state-of-the-art dorm. The project just needs to pass final board approval in January for construction to get under way.

It's a plan many years in the making.

"For nearly 20 years, the university has been exploring new housing options for the campus," Alicia Moore, dean of student enrollment services at COCC, said Thursday.

In 2011, an outside team came to COCC to assess the demand and capacity for additional beds on campus. They found that the university could house almost 700 students and had the need for it. Because of that, COCC decided to go ahead with this project at this time.    

"We're very confident that building these 330 beds we'll easily fill that and meet a high need for our students," Moore said.    

Right now, only 100 students live on campus, which Moore says is not meeting the need. Also, the current building was built in 1967 cinder-block style. It is not handicap-accessible, and it was built in a poor location. 

"It's on a hill, so you can imagine in wintertime, it's the hardest building to get to,  even though it's the most used," Moore said.

The new building however, will be in a prime location.

"It will be right next door to the gym, right next door the the library, and right next door to the campus center," Moore said.

This will give students easy access to a place to exercise, study and eat.

On the inside, the dorm will feature two-bedroom suites that will house four students each. They will share a common area and a private bathroom.

The suites are very versatile, and students will have many options of how they can rearrange their living space. Moore said there are more than 100 ways to create a unique and personalized dorm room.

It will also have study rooms, on-site laundry and kitchen areas.

On top of that, Moore said students requested more areas for private study. This new dorm will feature private study nooks and spaces.

These amenities come with a $16 million price tag.  

"The college will go out for full faith and credit obligation bonds and use that to pay for the initial construction," Moore said.

But it should pay off when students start paying for the housing, and revenue comes in.

"The fiscal plan we have with the building calls for us to pay those bonds off in about a 10-year time frame," Moore said.

The dorm might pay off in another way, too.

"Students who live on campus have a higher GPA and degree of completion rate than students who live off campus," Moore said.

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