After two years of meticulous preparation, Salt Lake Community College received authorization to move forward with the planning and eventual construction of on-campus student housing. Taylorsville Redwood Campus has been selected to host the college’s first set of student dorms.
“It’s been proven that if students are living on campus, they are more likely to finish a degree,” noted Jeffrey West, the vice president for Finance and Administration at SLCC.
West said the idea was first conceived nearly two years ago. Before SLCC could supply students with dorms, administrators set out to determine whether a demand for student housing existed. This prompted a school-wide survey to see just how many students would utilize on-campus housing.
The survey, conducted by The Scion Group LLC, found that around 600 single students declared interest in student housing, while a similar number of students responded in kind when it came to the prospect of on-campus family dormitories.
One SLCC staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that students who are in more intense programs, such as nursing, as well as international students would find on-campus housing particularly appealing.
Although SLCC is not the first two-year college to have dorms on its campus, it is certainly in the minority. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, a 2015 report revealed that only 28% of public community colleges provided housing for their student body. Of that number, Utah contributed nothing.
West said there were two options when it came to funding the projected $35 million undertaking: SLCC would finance the construction itself, or a partner company would bear the brunt of the costs. The school administration decided that the second option made the most sense, as the first would cause the school to take on debt.
The partner company, which project coordinators will select over the summer, will fund the construction of the dorms while leasing land from SLCC somewhere along Redwood Road. Whichever company SLCC chooses will also have control over the facilities found on the property.
Although nothing is on the drawing board yet, the first set of dorms may have 350 to 400 beds for single students. West went on to say that should this prove to be successful, SLCC will proceed to build dorms for families as well.
Inside the complex, one can expect to find such amenities as IT help desks, counseling offices and a small store selling basic supplies.
“It won’t be the Taj Mahal, but it will be nice,” joked West.
SLCC safety officers in cooperation with the Utah Highway Patrol will provide security for the dorms.
When asked for a timeline, West said if everything goes according to plan, construction should start in about 12 months and finish sometime around 2023.