Housing Options Abound for Penn College Students

Published 09.23.2009


A new student-housing complex is rising at Pennsylvania College of Technology, but even after that facility opens its doors in Fall 2010, more than half of the college's 6,500 students will continue to live in privately owned off-campus rental properties.

Currently, approximately 23 percent of Penn College students live on campus in college-owned-and-operated housing, though that percentage is expected to decline slightly next month when a program that enables high school students to earn college credits will increase total enrollment. Heeding guidance from its board of directors, the college has made a commitment for the foreseeable future to limit on-campus housing to no more than 25 to 30 percent of the total student population, said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

"The availability of quality, on-campus housing is a vital consideration in the decision-making process for students and their families," Gilmour said. "For many parents especially those sending sons and daughters far from home to attend college it is important that we have sufficient opportunities for students to live on campus in a controlled environment. The construction of Dauphin Hall allows us to meet more of that current demand."

The Williamsport Planning Commission and City Council have approved a 1,695 capacity for the four existing housing units on the Penn College campus. The college, which began offering student housing in 1997, currently has an operational capacity of 1,515 students in the four complexes: The Village at Penn College, Campus View Apartments, College West Apartments and Rose Street Apartments.

When Dauphin Hall is completed on the west end of the main campus, the total number of students who can reside in on-campus housing will rise by 267 to more than 1,700. The total will continue to be well within the college's self-imposed limit.

Of the college's 370 on-campus housing units, 293 (79.2 percent) are configured as four-person, two-bedroom suites (featuring bathrooms and kitchens); 46 (12.4 percent) are six-person, two-bedroom suites (also with bathrooms and kitchens); and 31 (8.4 percent) are units with other configurations.

The six-person, two-bedroom suites include 9 percent permanent and 3 percent temporary arrangements. Students can request to move out of the six-person suites anytime during the course of a semester as other units become available.

Dauphin Hall is being constructed as part of the $45.27 million Stage X building program, which also features extensive renovations to the Hager Lifelong Education Center, the Parkes Automotive Technology Center and the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center/Machining Technologies Center.

The entire complex within which Dauphin Hall will be situated encompassing Rose Street Apartments and College West Apartments will be known as Rose Street Commons. The new building will be the center of student life within the area and will include a dining unit, offices, Fitness Center annex, meeting rooms and lounge.

For students who decide to pursue off-campus living arrangements, the college maintains a list of approved, privately owned rental properties. To be included on the list, properties must be located within the area actively patrolled by Penn College Police, who are permitted to patrol up to 500 yards from Penn College-owned facilities through an agreement with the Williamsport Bureau of Police.

All rental properties on the Penn College-approved list must be inspected annually. The city's rental-property ordinance requires inspections every four years.

Since 2006, the number of landlords and property owners on the college's approved list has increased by 56 percent, adding 55 rental properties to the list, while the number of students residing in on-campus housing has increased by only .04 percent, said Elliott Strickland, special assistant for student affairs and student development at Penn College.

Penn College administrators meet regularly with the landlords, and the college schedules a number of events annually featuring their participation. The college recognizes the significant investment of time and money made by the landlords to provide decent, affordable housing for students.

"Off-campus landlords are an integral piece of the overall student-housing picture at Penn College; we simply cannot do what we do without them," Strickland said.

For more information about Residence Life at Penn College, visit online . For general information about the college, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.