NPC Board To Explore On-Campus Housing Expansion

National Park College (NPC) Board of Trustees approved a resolution to explore expansion of on-campus housing Wednesday during their regular monthly board meeting.

Vice President for Administration, Kelli Embry presented the resolution asking the board to allow pre-development discussions that would identify a potential location, determine the number of beds needed, identify funding sources, determine a project timeline and integrate the project with the campus master plan.

Embry noted Dogwood Hall is currently fully leased with a long waiting list. “Leasing for NPC housing for fall of 2021 has gone really well. As a matter of fact, we are full and oversubscribed. We have a significant amount of students who wish to live on NPC’s campus and unfortunately we are out of housing at this time.”

Embry explained the positive impact housing has had on students, especially student-athletes this year. Research shows that some of the potential benefits to students living on campus include greater positive relationships with other students, greater success in the classroom, higher retention and completion rates, and a better overall college experience.

Garland County is currently facing a significant housing shortage. “We are acutely aware that Garland County currently has a lack of affordable, quality housing for students. There is a significant scarcity of housing nearby and so often what we find is our students and their families can’t afford to lease or rent apartments in the area,” said Embry.

Community Manager, Javon Southwell shared statistics about this year’s incoming housing residents. He noted 77% of residents live outside of a 30 mile radius of the College. Student-athletes account for 57% of the residents and 43% are non-athletes.

Dogwood Hall opened to students in August 2020. The Board approved the project in November 2018. Servitas was selected to build and operate the facility. A comprehensive feasibility study revealed a significant demand for affordable housing options at NPC. While demand was estimated to be approximately 237 beds, Servitas recommended starting with a 180 bed facility. Results from the study also indicated more than half of the 586 respondents were ages 17-24, 86 percent of which would consider on-campus housing. One quarter of all respondents commute more than 40 miles each day to attend NPC and 15 percent travel more than 60 miles daily.

Dr. John Hogan, NPC president said affordable, on-campus housing remains a need. “We continue to be focused on student success and hearing that student voice. Students choose us and we have to keep that in mind.” He thanked the Board for supporting student success initiatives and noted we are already over capacity and at risk for losing students because of the growing waitlist. “Your recognition for expanding on-campus housing is necessary for recruitment, enrollment growth and fulfillment of the College’s mission. It’s a very important initiative and I am grateful for your support there.”