Juniper Hall may be replaced by a new residence hall by fall 2014, according to a new proposal to the Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors.
The culmination of two years of planning and design, this proposal has been primarily spearheaded by Alicia Moore, Dean of Students and Director of Student Life Gordon Price.
“It’ll be built behind the athletic field,” explained Price. “It’ll be three stories in height and house 300 students compared to Juniper Hall’s 100. It’ll have all the same features as the current residence, but updated to more modern standards.”
This proposal has arisen from deficiencies at Juniper Hall, which is becoming outdated.
“With the new building, we intend to move forward with the campus residence,” continued Price. “The current residence hall doesn’t add up to what today’s students are looking for, so we intend to transition away from that.”
The expansion of student residence program will accompany expansions in other areas of COCC student services, such as the gym and the library.
“What we want in general is to move forward with the student life aspect,” explained Price. “We know that colleges that offer housing retain more students on average than colleges that don’t, so with the upgraded residence hall and upgraded services in general, we seek to bring in and retain more students, especially from out-of-state or out-of-district.”
Another issue driving the need for new residence hall is that Juniper Hall was built in 1967, so it does not meet the standards for accessibility set by the Americans with Disability Act.
“Students with disabilities can’t really live here,” said Paul Amar, a Juniper Hall director. “And to try to remodel the building to fit ADA standards would be expensive and time consuming.”
It has not been decided what will be done with Juniper Hall if the new dorm proposal goes through, according to Amar.
“We might’ve considered renovating it into more office spaces,” explained Amar, “but again, the lack of disability access poses a huge obstacle for that. And we thought of demolishing it and replacing it with more parking, but that runs into some state laws.”
Price expects the building to be either decommissioned completely or renovated.
The COCC Board of Directors will decide on the proposal on the second or third week of November, according to Price.
“The proposal’s been drafted, we’ve heard the pros and cons of it from different groups and experts, and now it’s up to the board to decide what they’ll do with it,” said Price.
Sam Cower | The Broadside