KPC’s Kenai River Campus, after considerable thought and discussion, has decided to pause residence hall operations June 30 to determine how the campus can move forward in the future. Student residency in the hall, built in 2013, has continually decreased the past two years, said KPC Director Gary J. Turner.
Per University of Alaska (UA) Board of Regents policy, residence halls are considered auxiliary units and must be self-sustainable being able to operate with the revenue they generate through student housing fees. Since 2016, the 92-bed hall has been unable to attract the 55-60 students needed to break even. Last year, the hall housed 32 students. Last fall and spring, the number fell to 21 and 26 residents, respectively. In the current semester, 15 students are staying in the hall.
UA’s Land Management department contacted local real estate brokers and appraisers to determine if there might be interest to lease the facility for a year, but no interest has been expressed to date. KPC’s leadership will hire a consultant to help develop a plan with the goal of reopening the hall in the future. If the consultant doesn’t think it’s viable in the near term to reopen it as a residence hall, then KPC will consider leasing it as a revenue opportunity.
KRC staff will work with the current students living in the residence hall on housing alternatives for the fall semester. Interested local renting companies may contact the residence life staff at 741-2224.
During the hiatus, KPC will place the hall in a warm status meaning the utilities will remain connected and the site will be continuously monitored by facilities staff.
As the University continues to address major budget reductions and increase enrollments, Turner said that it is important to look at all programming and evaluate its impact on the university’s core mission of educating students.