By Erin Grable, Staff Writer
Over the Christmas break, Young Harris College became the owner of a nearby property across from campus. According to an e-mail from Young Harris President Cathy Cox, the property includes the Young Harris motel, the adjoining locally-owned restaurant The Bread of Life and the two-story building that was previously a real estate office.
YHC has been discussing the purchase since last fall, when a local bank began procedures to foreclosure on the properties; but the foreclosure was not completed until December 31 of last year.
According to Denise Cook, the director of Communications and Marketing at YHC, the purchase of this property is beneficial to YHC’s long-term plans for growth as a four-year college.
“I am glad the college bought it hopefully the turnover will bring more business,” said Elizabeth Eller, owner of The Bread of Life restaurant. “[Outsiders] were looking at buying it now it will stay local.”
The motel and office buildings are vacant, but the restaurant is still being operated by the Eller family from the city of Young Harris. Although the YHC owns the land, their restaurant will remain open and the Eller family will operate it.
YHC has made plans to improve the appearance of the restaurant by providing a new sign for the restaurant.
“Young Harris is better suited to update the appearance, and it will be important what it looks like to the college,” said Eller. “The college is providing a new sign for the restaurant with lighting, and they are going to repair the ground. We are just waiting on the weather.”
In a META e-mail sent to all faculty over Christmas break, Cox mentioned that plans for the motel property have not been finalized, but many have been discussed. These include using the property as student housing, depending on if the enrollment rises higher than expected for the fall semester. If this option is finalized, then students could reside for a year in the motel if the enrollment exceeds expectations for next fall.
“I would want to live in the motel, because even though it is just across the road it is more off campus,” said junior Mallory Holland from Woodstock.
Other students like junior Ben Garner from Dahlonega mentioned that he would consider staying at the motel if the pool was available to students, since there was no longer a pool on campus.
Despite outside appearances, Cox was quick to mention that the motel is “quite appealing” on the inside.
Another alternative for the space applies to YHC faculty and staff. The college is expanding, and it will need additional office space for next fall. The motel has been discussed as a potential area for office space or academic programs.
“We definitely will need more office space, if the plan to tear down the old recreational center goes through,” said Diane Bauman, an instructor of mathematics at YHC.
According to Cook, YHC has considered using the two-story building as office space for the Bonner Leaders program and the Appalachian Studies program; however, no final plans have been made for any of these properties.
Cox pointed out that this purchase did not include the buildings behind the two-story office building that are “falling into the ground.” Those buildings are still owned by the initial property owner.
Also, the purchase does not include the rundown white buildings with broken windows at the intersection of Main and Murphy Street at the stop light behind the Brodi t-shirt business. That building was recently purchased by Barry Brown, the head cross country coach and owner of the Brodi.
“No final decisions have been made at this time, but a decision will be made this spring regarding the short-term and long-term use of the property,” said Cook. “This ownership provides Young Harris College with flexibility as administration examines the options for managing the exciting growth the college is experiencing as a four-year college.”
By Stephanie Sexton, Staff Writer
At the end of last semester, YHC broke ground for the construction and development of the Senior Village, the newest addition to YHC housing. The Village will eight million dollars for the first phase to be built, which is set to open in Fall 2011.
The first phase consists of eight buildings, all apartment style living for the students. The total number of beds available for the first phase will be 148. The apartments will be set up with four, single bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a living room.
As far as laundry goes, Dr. Sean McGreevey, director of Residence life said, “There will be a unit in every apartment, so you will have your own washer and dryer.”
McGreevey continued to discuss how living in your own room in your own apartment could be an isolating experience, and Residence Life has always been centered on bringing students together and creating a community. These factors help enhance a students’ overall experience at Young Harris College.
So what are they going to do to help keep that community feel with students living on their own?
They have split up the apartment complexes into two separate communities, have lots of green space in front of each building, lots of landscaping, and the apartments are not going to look like “cookie cutter” complexes. Also, there are going to be porches on the front and back of each building.
With all of the amenities and special features to these apartments, a student’s expectation is that the cost of living there will be higher than any other hall.
“You can certainly expect that it will cost more…but it will follow the tier system. It will make sense,” said Susan Rogers, vice President for Student Development.
The budget will not be approved until later this semester at the Board of Trustees meeting after graduation. There will not be a set price until then.
However, Rogers did say that they would have a ballpark figure of what it will cost when students go to the housing lottery later this semester.
Parking for the new residence hall may be a bit of an issue though, since YHC will be adding 148 beds, but not much parking.
“Our expectation is that this new parking lot on Maple Street will be the main parking. We will manage the parking for that residence as part of the larger residential parking,” Rogers said.
Part of this dilemma is contributed to getting that ‘home feeling’ to the apartments. YHC did not want to put big parking lots in front of the apartments, when there could be plenty of lawn space for students to play.
As far as dining goes, the hope is that students will cook in their own kitchens; however, the Balance Café will most likely be popular for people living in that area. A meal plan is not finalized yet for the students.
“What we are working on right now is an alternative meal plan for the people in The Village. The people in The Village will be on the meal plan, but because they will have full kitchens, we will give them the option of a lesser plan, a cheaper plan, than the meal plan everyone is on,” Rogers said.
While YHC is working to finalize plans for this new addition to YHC housing, YHC is still in the first few phases of the whole project. A lot of decisions have not yet been made or solidified as far as policies go, but the expectation is that by Fall 2011 everything will be set and in working order.
By Erin Grable, Staff Writer
Along with the change of the new zoning district on campus here at Young Harris, the college wishes to expand its housing facilities further. There has been talk of creating new residence housing for students anticipating to live on the campus, because of the increase in enrollment. Unsure of where to build, what to tear down or put up, the college remains undecided on the final decision but does anticipate seeking new housing.
“YHC is growing at a rapid pace and expects to have more than 900 students enrolled in 2011-12 – some 100 more than we have this year. Accordingly, we absolutely must add additional student housing in order to grow at the rate we’d like to grow,” said Cathy Cox, president of Young Harris College.
Cox explained that as of right now the college provides 716 available beds for students and 657 of them are already assigned. 31 single rooms are set aside for RAs and 21 single rooms for any students willing to pay for them, that only leaves seven available beds for students entering next fall. Even with the seniors graduating next spring, and some students unfortunately transferring, the college will endure housing shortage unless they add new housing to the campus.
Winship Hall will be taken down or renovated during the summer of 2011 for the construction of the new campus center, further diminishing the number of available beds on campus.
“We know we need more housing and we have several options, but we are still very early in the process of identifying the best option,” said Susan Rogers, vice president of student development.
According to Rogers, there are several options for the expanding of housing preferences for students at Young Harris: option one being that the college seeks purchasing the apartments; option two being to bring back the arrangement of trailers on campus for housing; option three being renovating existing rooms on campus for additional beds. Finally option four being a planned village-style housing project, which is currently in the design phase.
The college has considered expanding to the Enotah Village apartments located across the street from the campus. These apartments house only residents with disabilities or residents that receive low income.
According to Cox, the college considered purchasing Enotah Village because they were interested in the apartment living-style they provided and they liked that it is located near the campus.
The master plan developed in 2008 for the campus, expects to seek apartment style housing with full kitchen so that students wanting to live in these apartments can begin learning to live independently in the privacy of their own apartment. The college wants to offer multiple housing options so that students will be more comfortable.
“We’ve spent months trying to see if the college could work past the various restrictions, but the sale continues to look less and less viable,” Cox said. “Adding ‘real’ apartments to our housing mix has been a part of our plans for some time whether we bought an existing apartment complex or built our own apartment style units.”
Cox explained that the Board of Trustees approached the developers of the Enotah Village living facility to see if they were willing to sell the apartments.
However, the purchase of the village is not possible at this time, because the facility is designed for individuals who receive low or moderate income and the apartment falls under the agreement to not be purchased until 20 years after being built.
“The college did approach us, but there is no agreement in place,” said a reliable source affiliated with Enotah Village.
According to a resident of Enotah Village who wished to not be named, many residents feel that if the college purchased the apartments it would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.
The resident claimed that as many as 20 families affected by this disability would be out on the street with no place to go.
However, a reliable source affiliated with Enotah Village assured that the residents would be protected; they would not lose their housing rights. There would probably be another facility that would accommodate the Enotah Village apartments.
Just in case, residents at the Enotah Village apartments received access to paperwork with information concerning the HUD Office of Fair Housing if they felt the need to file any complaints for the inquiry of the college’s expanding into their housing facility.
According to Cox, the developer of Enotah Village was interested in building a new housing location to fill the area’s need for affordable accommodation if they were able to work out the complicated details.
“If there was an agreement in place it would be a complicated, lengthy, unwinding process,” said a reliable source affiliated with the Enotah Village apartments. “Some people have a problem with change, but it is often a good. It can be the benefit of all.”
Another option exists if the college is not able to purchase Enotah Village. According to Cox, last spring the Board of Trustees contacted the administrators of the college to see about beginning an apartment-style housing design for the college. The process for the design does not have a set date, but the apartments will be located on Maple Street, and it will be offered to upperclassmen first.
“A number of decisions will have to be made in the coming month to ultimately decide which path we’ll follow,” Cox said. “But any way you look at it, we are simply going to have to have additional student housing next fall. That’s a good problem to have.”