SCCC dorm project moves forward

Without a local development corporation, the dormitories would not be possible, as the state does not allow community colleges to take out loan funding for dormitories.

Initially the Legislature looked at funding the project through the Industrial Development Agency, but in January, the state put a halt on IDA funding for nonprofit projects.

While several legislators expressed reservations about the project, they said it is imperative that they act on the project now.

Creating a local development corporation is "the only realistic route" said DiCerbo, a graduate of SCCC.

Hughes said it is essential that the cost of the dorms be in line with what a community college student can afford. He said the cost of construction is a factor in building the dorm because the developer must be able to pay back bonds while providing affordable housing to students.

"This is a well-thought-out project," Hughes said. "It is imperative that it move forward tonight."

Farley said despite his reservations about the project, it is important that the county move forward with building the dormitory. He said preferably the county would not have to rely on another entity for financing, but after talking about building dorms for more than 10 years now is the time.

Suhrada is weary about the Legislature's oversight of the corporation; "I would be keeping one eye open on the corporation."

He said he would like to see more people on the corporation's board that are not already involved in downtown development.

Legislators and college officials are positive the dormitories will help increase enrollment and attract more students from out of the area to the college, which offers unique programs in music, culinary arts and aviation.

"I know the housing will have an impact," said SCCC President Gabriel Basil.

"Look at that [student housing] as an investment with a real return," said Michael Karl, vice chair of the college Board of Trustees.""

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