GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Richard Stockton College officials plan to contract with a private developer to build housing for at least 700 students on Pomona Road near the athletic fields. The addition would expand the available housing by more than 25 percent by September 2014.
President Herman J. Saatkamp Jr. mentioned the project Friday at a meeting of the board of Stockton Affiliated Services Inc., or SASI, the college’s non-profit subsidiary which manages auxiliary projects. After the meeting he said the demand for housing keeps increasing both as enrollment has increased and more students want to live on campus and take advantage of college amenities and activities.
The 2011-12 freshmen class of almost 975 students was the largest ever and about 50 more students than anticipated. The college has already received more than 6,000 applications for fall 2012, and accepted about 3,400 prospective freshmen Dean of Enrollment Management John Iacovelli said Friday. He said he anticipates at least 1,000 of those students will enroll.
While about half of all students come from Atlantic, Ocean and Cape May counties, and many commute, more students are also coming from northern counties such as Bergen, Morris and Middlesex, and require campus housing. Iacovelli said this is the third year of a North Jersey marketing campaign that has included guaranteed housing for all four years. He said in addition to freshmen, more transfer students from the northern counties are also choosing Stockton.
This year Stockton reconfigured some existing housing, used 50 beds in a wing at Seaview resort as student housing, and put about 50 students temporarily in a motel on the White Horse Pike to meet the housing demand.
Saatkamp said the college will add about 150 more beds for students at Seaview in September, which will bring the total number of beds available for the estimated 7,300 undergraduate students to 2,700. Stockton anticipated using a section of Seaview as student housing when it purchased the resort in 2010.
Graduate housing is also expanding. SASI is completing its eighth private home off campus, and college officials said the five-bedroom home is already leased. Stockton has about 870 graduate students, but most are local residents who attend part time.
The college has already received Pinelands approval for the housing site as part of the Stockton 2010 Master Plan. College officials said the next step will be to put out a formal Request for Qualifications to find qualified developers. The New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 allows public colleges to partner with private developers on such projects. The developer would build the housing, then lease it back to either Stockton or SASI. Montclair State University opened similar privately built housing for 2,000 students in September 2011.
Saatkamp said private developers have already expressed interest in the project. He said student housing is considered a good risk since it is developed with the college and has a guaranteed occupancy. The design of the project could be similar to the apartments on campus, or could be a high-rise tower. Saatkamp said the project will be designed for themed “learning communities,” group study areas and special events.
The last student housing built on campus was the 380-bed low-rise apartment complex in 2008. The earliest campus housing, built in the 1970s, is still in use.
In 2011-12, student housing cost between $7,200 and $9,000 per academic year depending on the type and location.
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