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A Community College Builds Its Own Housing

community college housing
February 2020

A community college’s solution for the lack of affordable housing options for students is to create their own.

In response to the shortage of affordable housing for students, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) is looking to build its own solution, according to the Daily Press.

“We have students living right now in what I would term horrible conditions,” said Jack Hanbury, Vice President for Finance and Administration at PHCC, at a Virginia Community College System (VCCS) board meeting.

VCCS board members voted to inquire about building student housing at one or more of its 23 colleges. At this moment, they're looking for statements of interest and qualifications from developers—nothing is in the works yet.

“What we’re asking for is approval to go out and solicit some ideas that we can bring back," said Chancellor Glenn DuBois before the vote. "After that we can go to the next step.”

Currently, no community colleges in Virginia have on-campus housing.

At PHCC, the goal is to develop “student to work housing,” according to Hanbury. The building would be privately developed and operated, containing about 200 apartment homes with options of one- to three-bedroom apartments.

Hanbury stated that, in a survey, about half of the PHCC student body expressed interest in housing. Students would get priority for these apartments, with the opportunity to continue to occupy the apartment homes after graduation, meeting the region’s need for affordable entry-level housing for young adults.

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