MGCCC dealing with high demand for dorms

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

PERKINSTON, MS (WLOX) - Enrollment is at all time high this fall at the Perkinston campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.  More than 1,600 students are enrolled.  Many of them are choosing to live on campus.

"We can accommodate over 900 students here on this campus in residential housing," said Dr. Mary Graham, Vice President of the Perk Campus.  "We built three new dorms since 2004. We've exceeded our capacity now."

With more than 100 students waiting for dorm rooms at the start of school, college leaders scrambled to find them housing.

"What we suggested to students that are on the waiting list is if they meet someone that lives in the residence hall, if those students are in agreement to go three to a room, then we can accommodate them that way," said Michelle Sekul, Dean of Student Services at Perk.

"We're taking beds out of storage and setting them up.  It doesn't match, but it's a bed," she added with a laugh.

The college also reopened the first floor of a former dormitory -- Harrison Hall. The building now holds 40 female students.

"It's an older facility.  It doesn't have the amenities of our new dorms," said Graham.

Robbie Hooker doesn't seem to mind.  The freshman is just happy to have a place to stay.

"We were waiting for hours for them to call my name and I kind of wanted to turn around and go home. But I got lucky. Got a room," said Hooker.

If the enrollment boom continues, the community college will look at building another dormitory, possibly adding about 200 beds, to accommodate future growth.

"We've grown about 25 percent since Katrina," said Graham.  "We really feel as the population shift moves north, this campus will see substantial growth."

In the meantime, college leaders offer this advice to the 20 students who still need a bed.

"We'll just encourage them to hang on with us and continue in school, and maybe a bed will open up for them," said Graham.

Besides Gulf Coast, Pearl River Community College is also dealing with a shortage of dorm rooms.  According to the dean of student services, about 40 students are still on the waiting list.  The college is also considering allowing three students to share a room.  And new dorms are on the drawing board.

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