January 22, 2013
BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – At its regular January meeting, the Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees authorized the College to proceed with a planning process that is intended to lead to building on-campus housing at the Napier Avenue campus. The Board-approved action item allows for the formation of a non-profit corporation that will own and operate the housing and negotiate the land lease for location of the structure, in accordance with the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service’s regulation 63-20.
“Tonight is the first step in a process that we hope will lead to the building of student housing. However, before any bids are let, designs confirmed, or construction begins, we will continue performing our due diligence in every part of the project.” stated LMC Board Chairman Dr. David Maysick. “We believe this project will be good for our students and will ultimately contribute positively to the College’s bottom line.”
The proposed project would house approximately 200 students. Construction would begin in the winter of 2014, with a target opening date of the fall semester of that same year. The estimated cost of the housing facility is $6.5 million, to be financed through the non-profit 63-20 corporation. Housing fees paid by the residents over 30 years would fund the bond repayment.
The Board’s action authorizes the College to form a 63-20 corporation for the purpose of issuing bonds to finance the project. A 63-20 corporation has the power to issue municipal bonds which are treated as debt obligations funded on behalf of the College. This allows the College to ultimately own the asset without being obligated for the debt.
The College views on-campus housing as a way to increase enrollment, encourage more recent high school graduates to stay in the area and receive a total college experience close to home, and attract students from outside the region into flagship programs such as energy production and healthcare.
“This is just another piece of how we are working to transform the region,” stated LMC President Dr. Robert Harrison. “The foundation for advancing our region is through education. It is imperative that the College do all it can to be a center for education and a place of discovery for people of all ages. Student housing represents a natural, logical extension of our commitment to offering a premier educational experience. It broadens student life experiences, and will attract more students to LMC by making our programs accessible to students from outside our immediate region.”
Harrison added that this project complements the College’s focus on program development, academic excellence, and community partnerships by increasing programmatic and campus life opportunities in the future.
The College has chosen to work with Student Suites, based in Independence, Missouri, to assist with the planning, design, and operation of the student housing project. Student Suites has worked with colleges and universities nationwide to provide turnkey development of on-campus housing projects. They will create a student housing development plan which the College will have final review and approval of prior to implementation.
“We still have many details to finalize over the coming months like floor plan designs, room and board rates, how student life services will be expanded, and on-campus food service for the students. Student Suites will lend their expertise to the process and assist us with making decisions that will be right for our students and for the College,” Harrison added.