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Cayuga CC Explores Building On-Campus Student Housing

DATE: 12-20-2012

At the December 19 monthly meeting of the Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees, representatives of Hueber-Breuer Construction Company and Holmes King Kallquist & Associates Architects presented plans to build a 300-bed residence hall along Prospect Street at the northeastern side of the Auburn Campus.

The current plans call for a four-story (including ground floor), V-shaped building that opens toward the main buildings on the campus. The residence hall would feature furnished single and double suites. The single suite would offer four single bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a shared living room and kitchen. The double suite option provides two double bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a common kitchen and living room area. The residence hall will offer a classroom with computers, a multipurpose great room and outdoor terrace, fitness center, two study lounges in each wing on each floor, and other amenities.

Student parking would be set back from Prospect Street, to the northeast of the residence hall, with landscaping of trees and shrubs along the road’s edge to help maintain the residential look of the neighborhood.

Unlike four-year institutions, rules governing community colleges within the State University of New York prohibit student tuition and state aid funds to be used on expenses relating to the operation and administration of student housing. However, 18 of the 30 SUNY community colleges currently offer on-campus student housing through an independent housing corporation. The Faculty-Student Association (FSA) has been instrumental in establishing the housing corporation.

The $20.8 million project would require no capital up-front by the College. Rather, it would be financed through tax-exempt bonds, which would be repaid by the rent collected from student residents. The College hopes to have the residence halls ready for student occupancy by Fall 2014.

“We are excited to assist the College in finding a way to provide student housing for our students, especially since the construction will use sustainable resources and be environmentally-friendly,” said FSA President and College Vice President of Student Affairs Jeffrey Rosenthal. “The FSA’s purpose is to promote and cultivate educational and cultural relations among our students, and we believe having our students on campus for longer periods of time, surrounded by peers who share similar academic goals and staff who support their efforts, will improve our retention and completion rates. This can help our students to become more successful in school and in living independently.”

The property will be managed by EdR Collegiate Housing, one of America’s largest owners, developers, and operators of collegiate housing. EdR will provide support services for the residence halls, including marketing, maintenance, technology services, and student engagement activities and services to help students transition to independent living. They would hire a full-time residence director and train student resident assistants to oversee and plan student activities and programming. This would enable the College to build its own residence life resources and staffing over time and then transition into managing the student housing.

“Being able to partner with our Faculty-Student Association and third-party providers enables us to meet the desires and expectations of our students, many of whom seek on-campus housing,” said College President Daniel P. Larson. “We believe it will encourage those from outside the area to consider attending Cayuga as well as help attract local students who are looking for the residential college student experience.”

The construction of the student housing project would stream more than $20 million through the local economy in the form of materials, salaries, equipment, and related spending. The on-campus housing would keep students and their spending on gas, food, clothing, and other purchases in Cayuga County throughout the academic year.

The College will hold meetings in January for its neighbors to review the plans and ask questions about the project.