Lower Columbia College is expanding its student housing with the purchase of a house close to the college.
The LCC Board of Trustees last week approved the purchase of the building at 1608 20th Avenue for $290,000, according to Nolan Wheeler, vice president of administrative services for the college.
LCC already owns adjacent apartment buildings, he noted.
“Someday in the future, if the college was to build a dorm-style building, we would have the property all in one spot to do it, but we’re in no hurry for that,” Wheeler said.
The college can now house 50 students, and the new property should enable it to shelter three to six more.
“Once we get in and start measuring the (bedrooms), we’ll make a determination,” Wheeler said. “In the apartments we tend to convert the larger bedrooms with loft beds, like you see in dorm rooms, but some bedrooms are just too small for that. So we leave them as singles.”
Eventually, Wheeler said more bedrooms will be added to the house. For now, students will be placed there as soon as they can. However, the purchase still needs approval from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
Wheeler said there are also a few maintenance issues to be taken care of, like changing the locks and making sure the building meets residence codes.
The students who live in the college housing are mostly out-of-state student athletes and international students, according to Wheeler. It can sometimes be difficult for these students to find housing, Wheeler said, as they only need a house for the duration of the school year, and some property managers are reluctant to rent to non-citizens.
“We don’t have space for all of them, but the ones that travel the furthest, we try to house them,” Wheeler said.
The need for more housing has become more apparent in recent years as the international programs grow. Increasing student housing has been a college goal for decades, Wheeler said.