Olympic College to open new residence hall this fall

A new residence hall at Olympic College features furnished dorm rooms for students. - Seraine Page
A new residence hall at Olympic College features furnished dorm rooms for students.
— image credit: Seraine Page

Olympic College will open its new residence hall to students starting this September.

The hall, which is the site of a half-occupied apartment complex, is open to international students and locals who are 18 or older at move-in.

“A lot of community colleges have this,” said Dr. Jennifer Fyllingness, associate dean of Admissions and International Student Services. “I’m looking forward to seeing the community they’re going to build.”

The dean said that word has spread rather quickly about the dorms, and that she already has applications from a handful of students. So far, she is expecting students from Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Switzerland and Vietnam, she said. There are currently 14 spaces available in the hall.

The dorms are one block from campus at 1100 13th St. at the Olympic Court West Apartments location. Each 400- to 480-square-foot room has a stove, sink, fridge and bathroom. Utilities are included in the rent pricing. Each room serves two students, and there are 18 total units in the first available building. Ultimately, the location will serve more than 80 students.

The units will include high-speed internet and one free parking space per unit for residents with cars. The college remodeled the living spaces to bring the buildings up to code, and to give the rundown building a fresh, new look. Each unit has new floors, paint and is fully furnished with beds, a chair, desk, dining table and kitchen necessities, including pots and pans.

“The benefits of a residential hall are many. International and local students will have a convenient place to live and more opportunities to learn about other cultures and perspectives,” states an Olympic College press release. “With an established residence hall, the international student population will continue to expand and contribute tuition to support other college programs and services.”

For security, the college is installing emergency call boxes and a camera system. Additionally, live-in Residence Hall Manager Michael Emanuel will occupy one of the units. Emanuel comes with residential experience from a variety of schools, including Humboldt State University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Oregon Institute of Technology. He’s also worked in special education boarding schools, he said.

“I think I am most looking forward to creating an environment where residents from various cultures, both domestic and from abroad, can live together, learn from one another, and develop life-long friendships,” said Emanuel. “ But, that is just one of many goals I have for this project.”

As a full-time live-in manager, Emanuel will host a new resident orientation and facilitate a variety of activities for residents based on their interests.

“I would like students to feel connected to the college, know that they have a say in how residence life is managed, and feel connected with other residents,” he said. He also hopes to develop a resident advisor program next year that will include hiring student resident advisors, he said.

Fyllingness said residents will also have access to an on-site laundromat and a community room. She anticipates the community room will have a large kitchen with an island for resident cooking gatherings, and it will be accessible 24/7 for students by key.

It will be “set up like a comfy lounge,” she said.

Although the location is near a neighborhood with a few boarded up houses and rundown buildings, Fyllingness believes the community will embrace the new changes that are coming.

“I think it’s going to be good for the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s cleaned it up a lot.”

The location has three buildings purchase by the Bremer Trust, a foundation established by the Bremer family. Currently the college is renovating just one of the building while current tenants occupy the other buildings. It will take two years for the college to fully take over, Fyllingness said.

“The residential hall is a natural outcome of our mission to enrich our diverse communities through quality education and support as students achieve their educational goals,” states an OC press release. “We are thrilled about this direction for the college and what it means for our students and the community.”


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