SLCC expected to make school history, with construction of first-ever dormitoryMar 10, 2021 12:28PM ● By Carl Fauver
The Taylorsville campus of Salt Lake Community College is expected to begin housing it’s first-ever residential students within 2 1/2 years. (SLCC facebook page)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
On the Taylorsville campus of Salt Lake Community College, school officials anticipate breaking ground on a $32 million, 350-bed student dormitory a year from now. If all goes according to plan—as it has, so far, with state approvals—SLCC plans to begin housing students, for the first time ever, starting in the fall 2023.
Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson recently told her city council about the school’s plans, after receiving a phone call from SLCC President Dr. Deneece Huftalin.
“Anything that happens at the community college impacts Taylorsville, so it was a courtesy call to let us know what they were planning,” Overson said. “We have no zoning control over schools in Taylorsville, whether it’s SLCC or Granite District schools. For example, the city cannot regulate the size or height of buildings on their property. So, I appreciated [Dr. Huftalin] telling me what they were planning.”
Overson also explained to Taylorsville City Council members, this is yet another reason why they are wise to so strongly support the planned bus rapid transit line, expected to one day serve SLCC students, on a route that spans Murray, Taylorsville and West Valley City.
“There have been ongoing discussions about creating student housing at our Taylorsville campus for many years,” said SLCC Public Relations Director Joy Tlou. “We have conducted feasibility studies and student surveys. Our relationship with Taylorsville City is fundamental. We always want to be sure [the mayor and city council] are aware of things we are considering.”
The dormitory construction proposal took its first official step forward during a recent meeting of the state higher education board’s Finance and Facilities Committee. SLCC Finance & Administration Vice President Jeffrey West prepared the school’s committee presentation.
“The Finance and Facilities Committee approved our plans one day, and the entire higher education board did the following day, both unanimously,” West said. “We plan to construct the dormitory in the northeast corner of our Taylorsville campus, along Redwood Road. That area is currently a parking lot that is not heavily used.”
With the board of education’s approval now in hand, SLCC’s next step will be to firm up a public-private partnership with a company capable of designing and building what is expected to be a 125,000-square-foot structure, 3–4 stories high.
“We don’t want it to stand out from our other buildings on campus, so it will not be unusually large or tall.” West said. “By joining with a private partner, the school takes on very little financial risk. The partner will construct and own the dormitory, leasing the ground from SLCC. They will then also have to manage the building—or find another partner to do that—collecting rent and so forth.”
Although this dorm is expected to serve only single students, West said if the venture proves successful, there is enough room in that quadrant of the Salt Lake Community College campus to possibly construct a second dorm, in the years ahead, to serve married students with families.
“Until recent years, on-campus housing has not been in the bailiwick for community colleges in general,” West explained. “But the trend (toward constructing dormitories) is growing, nationwide. We did a study a year ago to determine whether there was a need and the results were very conclusive. There is a strong demand for on-campus housing. Based on that, we decided to move forward.”
Although community colleges largely serve a student population that resides relatively close to their campuses, SLCC does have at least two student populations that could immediately benefit from on-campus housing.
“Many of the student athletes we recruit come into the area from out of state and are in immediate need of housing,” West said. “A dormitory could help serve them. We also have an international student program that brings students in from even further away. This building is expected to help them as well.”
Salt Lake Community College currently serves about 40,000 students—14,000 of them full-time equivalents—on 10 campuses throughout the Salt Lake Valley. School officials are now also trying to locate a campus site in Herriman. And they say, years from now, other campuses may also be considered for student dormitories.
At press deadline, SLCC was working to finalize language for a request for quotation, the next step in the process. They hope to make that available to potential private construction/owner partners in March. School officials want to break ground on the 350-bed dormitory early next year.