Hoping to increase enrollment at its Wellington campus, Cowley College has moved forward with plans to build a 17-unit student dormitory at that location.
The new facility will include a kitchen, a recreational commons area and a laundry room.
The board met on Sept. 20 at the Wellington campus and unanimously approved a contract authorizing Conco Construction to proceed with that project at a cost not to exceed $1.64 million. That amount also includes the purchase of of 3.5 acres of land on the Sumner campus from the Bill and Marjorie Short Family Land Company, at a cost of $1 per square foot.
Communications Director Rama Peroo said that amount was contractually agreed upon when Marjorie Short donated the initial 18 acres the college in 2016 for the construction of the campus.
In honor of that donation, the first building to be completed was named the Short General Education Center.
Peroo said that the college is securing certificates of participation for $2.1 million to finance the project, which will be paid with funds generated by the a voter-approved Sumner County sales tax and from the residual college operating budget.
Board Chair Gary Wilson said Thursday that the lack of housing at the campus has hampered enrollment. He thinks enrollment would increase if students had a place to stay.
Peroo said the Sumner campus currently has a total enrollment of 73 students.
Wilson said more students would come from western Kansas and other locations around the state to participate in the agricultural program, if housing were available.
“Some of them don’t want to stay and drive back and forth from Ark City,” he said.
Wilson asked that any further questions be addressed to college administration.
The Short Education Center on the Wellington campus offers general education classes and the Technology and Innovation Center offers classes in manufacturing, agricultural studies, computer science, information technology, and general education development.
The Sumner campus also offers general education transfer coursework and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) courses.
Peroo said that construction of the new student housing facility is expected to begin by the holiday season and be completed in the fall of 2022.