On-campus housing is a rarity among community colleges, but it's an important offering at Jamestown Community College.
During a voting session Monday, the City Council approved JCC's acquisition of the two original residence halls on the JCC campus. Councilwoman Kimberly Ecklund, R-At Large, commented on the importance of the dormitories to the college's success.
"It's very important. Not only from an overall student relationship with the college aspect, but being able to offer those students who are not from here the opportunity to attend a phenomenal college, which is a great attribute to the city," she said.
Greg DeCinque, JCC president, speaks during the opening of two residence halls on the JCC campus in 2008.
The two residents halls, which offer suite-style accommodations and can house 220 students, were opened in 2008. Demand for beds in the two residence halls continues to exceed maximum capacity, and there is a waiting list of students seeking on-campus housing.
"With the cost of education and the economy the way it is, more people are looking at community colleges for the first two years. With the student housing, it just offers another viable alternative for many students," Mrs. Ecklund said.
When the residence halls were built, the JCC Board of Trustees was under the assumption that community colleges were not allowed to own their own dormitories. However, during the planning for the third residence hall, they found out that is not the case. The college is now gaining ownership of the original two residence halls from JCC Development Corporation, a local development corporation affiliated with JCC.
Using the bonding capacity of Chautauqua County will allow the refinancing of the existing debt incurred for the two residence halls on more favorable terms. It does not require any additional contributions or other participation by the city of Jamestown.
Last June, the Chautauqua County Legislature approved a $6.5 million bond issuance for the school to build a third dorm, which will house another 110 students. Construction on the new complex began in August and is expected to be completed by July 2012.
"(JCC's dormitory expansion) shows that community colleges are being utilized," said Councilwoman Maria Jones, D-Ward 5. "It's a wonderful opportunity for growth and expansion for JCC."