New housing approved to accommodate growth at Goshen College


GOSHEN, Ind. – Goshen College plans to begin the second phase of construction of a four-story apartment-style building later this year to accommodate growing student enrollment.

President James E. Brenneman said today that the new campus building would connect to an existing four-story apartment building, which has 64 single rooms in 16 apartments. The new building will add 93 single rooms in 25 apartments as well as a new main entrance from the east parking lot, an elevator providing ADA-accessibility to all units, and a two-story townhouse-style unit for an apartment manager.

In addition, the college also announced a major renovation to the third and fourth floors of Coffman Hall, which was built in 1929 and housed a shirt factory in the 1930s during the Depression era. The college plans to transform some of Coffman’s residence hall rooms into small-group housing units by adding bathrooms, kitchens and other amenities.

“Since the beginning, the best liberal arts colleges have viewed residence life as one of the most important places for students to integrate learning with living. Goshen is no exception,” Brenneman said. “I see these projects as another great step forward for Goshen College in providing excellent facilities for students that will continue to enhance an already vibrant campus life.”

SUMMARY:

What: Goshen College plans to begin construction of a four-story apartment-style building to connect to an existing housing complex. It will add 93 single rooms in 25 apartments as well as a new main entrance from the east parking lot, an elevator and housing for an apartment manager. In addition, the college plans to convert the third and fourth floors of Coffman Hall, which was built in 1929, into small-group housing units by adding kitchens and bathrooms.

When: Renovation of Coffman Hall will take place over the summer and be completed by fall 2007; construction of the new apartments is expected to begin in March and be completed in December 2007.

Cost: The new building and renovations of Coffman Hall will be financed with a $6.4 million bond, which will be repaid over 30 years.

Why: Enrollment growth and an increase in students living on campus.

Total: When phase 2 of the apartment building is complete, the college will have 830 beds for students.

Brenneman said planning for the housing improvements has been underway since 2002 and is part of continuing efforts to provide top-quality facilities for a growing enrollment and an expected increase in students living on campus.

For the fall 2007, Goshen College expects to have 720 residential students — compared with 594 students living on campus in the fall 2006. The need for more housing is driven by rising enrollment and an on-campus residency requirement, which will be in place next fall.

“Recent upswings in enrollment, student satisfaction and retention rates provide wonderful evidence to the power of living in community on the Goshen College campus. These new facilities encourage continued growth and vitality on into the future,” Brenneman said.

Goshen College’s board of directors, meeting at the campus on Friday, Jan. 26, unanimously approved the apartment complex, its financing and the renovations to Coffman Hall.

Virgil Miller of Archbold, Ohio, board chairman and chairman of the Sauder Manufacturing Co., said the improvements are the successful culmination of a thorough process and a sign that the college is moving in a positive direction.

“I think ultimately it’s the result of the work and prayers of many people,” Miller said. “It feels like there are many positive trends here.”

The new building and renovations of Coffman Hall will be financed with a $6.4 million bond, which will be repaid over 30 years. The renovations of Coffman are estimated to cost $790,000.

Carlos Romero of Goshen, a board member and executive director of the Mennonite Education Agency, said the board’s decision was based on a careful evaluation of the college’s housing needs and enrollment projections.

“The project is not based on simply wishful thinking. The project is based on hard data that is available and some very good projections for the future,” Romero said.

Ivorie G. Lowe of Markham, Ill, a board member and executive director of Southwest Community Services, Inc., said she believes the new and renovated housing will satisfy current and incoming students.

“If we don’t have places for the students to reside that they feel comfortable in and enjoy, then the enrollment may be influenced by that,” Lowe said. “This sends a message that we are ready for growth.”

Bill Born, vice president for student life, said Phase 1 of the apartment complex — a four-story complex with 16 apartments and 25,000 square feet — was completed in August 2004. Construction of Phase 2 is expected to begin in March and be completed in December 2007. It will encompass 39,900 square feet and 25 apartment units.

Born said that some of the single rooms easily can accommodate two beds — an option students can choose to lower their housing costs. Phase 1 now has space for 80 beds in 64 single rooms. Phase 2 will have space for some double occupancy as well within the 93 single rooms planned.

Meanwhile, the new small-group housing on the third and fourth floors of Coffman Hall is expected to be ready for occupancy in fall 2007.

“The decision to move forward with these two projects marks a culmination of many steps in transforming campus life through renovation of all our halls and the addition of the apartments,” Born said. “It is a sign of progress and a growing sense of campus community spurred by enrollment, overall student satisfaction and retention growth.

“From a practical perspective, these two projects will add numerically the options the juniors and seniors will have for housing as well as further support the sense of independence within community that they desire,” Born said.

“Goshen College is unique in the fact that we can provide a number of different housing options during the college years, from traditional halls to small group housing to apartment style living.”

Related to the new and renovated housing is a change in residency criteria for students to live off-campus, with the goal of having more seniors living on-campus. The off-campus living eligibility has changed from those who have 90-plus credit hours earned to those with 112-plus credit hours earned; from age 22 at the outset of the semester to age 23 during a semester; from living only with parents to living with immediate family members. The change first affects the eligibility to live off-campus of the class of 2008. Current students will have the choices currently in place for housing, along with the additional housing option of apartments.

“ The decision to shift residency requirements was made in 2003 with the commitment to add housing options for upper class students,” Born said. “The value of upper-class presence on campus while still honoring the desire for more independence within the living environment is a goal we hoped to, and I believe, we achieved.”

Romero agreed. “Having from first-year students to seniors on campus living together actually enhances the whole educational experience, I believe, on the campus and in the community. Apart from that, it also serves to provide students with a variety of different kind of housing experiences,” Romero said.

The Design Collaborative, Inc., a Fort Wayne architectural firm, designed both phases of the apartment project.

Ancon Construction Company Inc. of Goshen will build the apartment-style residence — as it did the earlier portion of the apartment building. Ancon also built the college’s Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center in 1993. D.J. Construction Inc. of Goshen will be in charge of the renovations of Coffman Hall.

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview with President Brenneman or Vice President Bill Born or to request a photo, contact Richard R. Aguirre, Goshen College director of public relations at (574) 535-7571 or rraguirre@goshen.edu.

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Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.

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