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LCC eyes purchase of Olympia Way apartments

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Lower Columbia College is finding homes away from home for its growing international student population.

The college’s board in April made moves to purchase Oak Terrace, an 11-unit apartment complex at 1321 Olympia Way.

While not final, the $660,000 transaction is more than likely to move forward, Vice President of Administration Nolan Wheeler said.

The purchase will not force current tenants out of their homes, nor will it put LCC in the real estate business.

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Students will deal directly with a property management business for rental agreements, with help from LCC in getting to that stage. The college had previously leased three apartments in the Oak Terrace complex for use by students.

While Wheeler couldn’t say how many of the units were currently vacant, Oak Terrace’s 10 two-bedroom and one single-bedroom apartments will be available to all students, not just those from overseas. Still, an emphasis on providing more housing for international students remains.

“Our goal for the international program is to bring in around 100 students, so if we have 100 international students, this won’t meet all our needs,” Wheeler said, adding that more housing will be sought in the future.

LCC signed an agreement with the Changzhou Technical Institute of Tourism and Commerce in China to offer Chinese nationals the first step on a path to a four-year education in America.

College officials hope 30 to 50 students will enroll at LCC as part of the program beginning this fall. Less than 10 are currently enrolled.

Some of those students will be younger than 18, so the school is also beginning the process of enlisting families to host minor students during their Longview stay.

Brooks Johnson covers Longview city government for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-7828 or bjohnson@tdn.com.

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