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More students at Southeast Community College in Beatrice will soon be able to call the local campus home. 

Construction of a new residence hall and new dining facility to better meet the needs of students continues to show signs of progress.

Beatrice Campus Director Robert Morgan said the residence hall will be three stories high and will house up to 152 students.

Morgan, whose job is to coordinate the campus’ master planning efforts, said he thinks that the housing will afford more students the opportunity to step out on their own and experience college life in a more dynamic way.

“It’s a step away from home,” Morgan said, “but there are resources in place to help the students.”

Morgan said the new facility will contain 38 apartments with two different layouts, including 25 apartments for four residents, each with an individual room. 11 of the rooms, he said, will have only two larger bedrooms, each shared between two students. The facility will also contain three American Disabilities Act compliant rooms.

Morgan said the new building will contain many common areas and recreational rooms for the students.

The new residence facility has not yet been named, but Morgan said the staff has some ideas. He said that unlike many of the buildings on campus it will not be named after a president, a convention which he said SCC is moving away from as it modernizes.

Students living in the new hall will be required to purchase a meal plan through SCC that will cover 14-17 meals a week. This, Morgan said, is because the rooms are not equipped with a full kitchen, only a microwave and refrigerator.

He stressed that the meal plan was cost effective, saying that it worked out to $10 per day.

Morgan said that after looking at statistics, SCC concluded that students living on campus do better in school and live more safely. He credits this to the resources that a campus provides, including Resident Assistants and campus staff.

The long term plan, Morgan said, is to replace many of the older buildings on Beatrice’s campus as they are aging and becoming less attractive to prospective students. He said the campus hopes to construct three more residence halls similar to this one in coming years.

According to Morgan, the residence hall will cost $8 million and the dining hall will cost $4 million. He said that the money for the project came from revenue bonds and current housing profits, and that the residence hall will be self-supporting.

Morgan said he expects the residence hall to be ready for students to move in by the beginning of classes next fall on Aug. 26, 2019.

Dean of Students and Assistant Campus Director Toni Landenberger said the new hall was constructed to better fill students needs. She said that in the past, the residence facilities have been full and have even required a waiting list.

“We’re always trying to meet community needs,” she said.

Landenberger said that keeping campus facilities up to date is a vital part of marketing to new students and expanding as a college. She said that SCC has been looking at increasing programs and athletic opportunities but felt unable to do so without new living space.

Landenberger said that it is important for students to be involved with campus activities. She said SCC hosts many intermural sports, and also holds skill based and educational events. She said that students set the tone for these activities, and let staff know what would be useful and fun for them.

The goal, Landenberger said, is to create a more engaged campus and strengthen the community at SCC.

“I hope they develop a community of support” she said.

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A version of this story previously ran on Feb. 8 in the Daily Sun. 

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