FM seeks to house 50 students at hotel

JOHNSTOWN – With more students attending Fulton-Montgomery Community College from outside the area and student housing next to the campus already full, President Dustin Swanger announced Thursday the college is nearing a deal with Microtel Inn and Suites to provide additional space to residential students for the 2013-14 academic year.

“As I have reported earlier, student housing was full in early May, and we have many students, particularly international students, that have yet to register, so we are working on an agreement to rent the third floor of the hotel for the academic year,” Swanger said.

The 294 beds at the Campus View complex already are spoken for, and 13 people are on a waiting list. The Mictrotel agreement would provide an additional 50 beds on the third floor of the hotel, making it serve as an international hall for the upcoming school year, officials said.

Swanger said Microtel has been wonderful to work with through this process and is very interested in what the college is doing.

He also said he has been informed the college already has students lined up to occupy all the hotel units, although the deal isn’t quite finished yet.

“We are about to ink an agreement, and we are out of beds again, so we’re doing pretty good, I think, for fall,” Swanger said.

He said the college first started working with Microtel two years ago when there was a fire/smoke incident at Campus View that took six rooms out of commission and required the college to find living space for the students.

Swanger said each room will have two students assigned to it, and while they are not on campus, several amenities will be available to them, including maid service twice a week, and they will be walking distance to several entertainment and shopping options.

He said the details of transportation for the students are being worked out, but he doesn’t expect any problems.

“I think it is going to work out really well,” Swanger said.

The 2012-13 was an important year in terms of residential experience at the college, with cafeteria renovation, the addition of the Raiders Cove lounge and increased evening programming. They have made the college a more appealing option for out-of-town and international students, said Jane Kelley, vice president for student affairs.

Swanger said the student population in the two sponsoring counties is decreasing, so the college has increased its effort to increase outside enrollment with residential-life improvements. A virtual tour of the college is expected to launch on its website for the fall recruiting season.

He said the college typically has about 20 percent of the student population come from outside Fulton and Montgomery counties. This year, the percentage was 27 percent.

Swanger said there have been several internal conversations about a permanent solution for additional housing. While he wasn’t ready to announce any specifics, he said when he does, “it is going to blow your mind.”

He said assuming this agreement with Microtel works well, the college will consider it as an option for next year as well.

Levi Pascher can be reached at