Published: Dec 08, 2010 9:02 PM EST
Updated: Dec 08, 2010 6:02 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla - For the first time in the Edison State College’s 48-year history, students will have the option to live on campus. Today the Edison State College District Board of Trustees approved a resolution to authorize financing and construction of the student housing project by the Edison State College Financing Corporation, a direct support organization of the College.

In further action, the Edison State College Financing Corp. approved the College’s request to move forward with constructing the student housing facility on the Lee Campus.  Plans include a 4- story, 405-bed residence hall. 

“Beyond a traditional dormitory, I see this as a living and learning center,” said Dr. Kenneth Walker, President of Edison State College.  “It's not just a place where students come to live.  We plan to have a variety of activities within our facility.”

Edison State offers 10 bachelor degree programs and intends to continue to add programs that will meet the needs of employers and students.  Edison State administrators say with the expansion in to baccalaureate degrees, more students from out of the area are expressing an interest in Edison State.

“We strive to meet the needs of all of our students through academic programming, student leadership opportunities and student services,” said Dr. Walker.  “I am enthusiastic about how we can enhance our students’ experience by becoming a residential college.” 

A 2010 survey found that 96% of current single (unmarried) students would like to see on campus student housing. “I would be able to live a more independent life but still be close to home and my family,” said ESC student Angie Bunting, 20, of Fort Myers Beach.  “I love being on this beautiful campus, I would love to call it home.”

Construction will begin on the Lee Campus in the early spring of 2011.  Plans include two- and four-bedroom suite-style units, common recreational areas and academic centers.  It is slated to open for the Fall 2012 semester. Construction costs are estimated at $26.3 million.
Financing for the project was made possible through a partnership with the Lee County Industrial Authority (IDA) and Edison State College Financing Corp.   Today the Lee County Board of Commissioners approved the IDA’s recommendation to sell the bonds on behalf of the Financing Corp.