How Swede it is. Business is booming at Bethany College in Lindsborg.
Bethany College President Edward Leonard spoke with the media this week about what he jokingly called “a good problem to have”. He says that an upward trend in enrollment is causing housing challenges this fall.
When Leonard took over at Bethany College in 2007, enrollment was at 537 students. Last year, it was up to 678. This fall enrollment is projected to possibly reach 740 students, the largest in 20 years.
Leonard told KSAL News that there simply is not enough room in the residence halls on campus to house everyone. The school will lease space at two nearby motels. Bethany will lease the entire Coronado Motel for student housing, 46 total beds. The school is also leasing 10 beds at the Viking Motel. And Leonard adds that there have been discussions with the new Bethany Home retirement facility about possibly leasing space there as well.
The school believes that the upward trend in enrollment will continue, and Leonard unveiled plans for a new residence hall. Deer Hall will be torn down, along with the steam plant, to make room for the new residence hall. It will be a three story, 225 bed facility, costing about $12 million.
Leonard says that the plan is to “intentionally and strategically overbuild”. Since the new dorm facility will be larger than initially needed it can be used to house students from other residence halls, giving the school an opportunity to take those buildings offline, renovating and updating them.
If things go as planned, the new residence hall at Bethany College will be open within a year, with students moving in for the Fall 2015 semester.