Tyler Junior College is testing a new approach to expansion by allowing the Wesley Foundation to lease one of its dorms.
In exchange, TJC will gain the former Wesley Foundation building next to the Baptist Student Ministry on Baxter Avenue.
“Essentially, they lease West Hall for a number of years but we still retain ownership of that building,” said Bill King, executive director of facilities and construction. “We like to grow. Any property we can obtain around campus is valuable because it adds to our asset portfolio.”
King also sees this as an opportunity to diversify the student body.
“Not many community colleges have housing for students on campus, so it’s very special that we take advantage of this opportunity to really grow, especially socially.”
Because West Hall is one of the older buildings on campus, there are more than a couple of renovations that need to take place before the building will be considered ready for the Methodist students to move in.
The newly named “Wesley House” will have enough room for 40 students to call home. The renovations will also include extra office space and large gathering areas.
“I think it will be exciting to see what West Hall looks like after going through the transformation. Sometimes students forget about the smaller dorms and I’m sure this change will make West Hall stand out and get other students interested in the Wesley Foundation,” said Resident Advisor Delaney Bentley.
The foundation is determined to make the necessary restoration as quickly as possible in hopes to have the Wesley House ready for the fall of 2013.
The only downside to this for the general student population is that the building will only be available to students affiliated directly with the Wesley Foundation. These students with the Methodist Organization will still be subject to the background checks policies, and expectations that all students go through to live at TJC.
Because the residence hall will be exclusively for Wesley Foundation students, non-affiliated students will have one less building available for housing. There is concern among students who live in residential housing on campus that this could affect some students negatively.
“There’s already a pretty long waiting list,” said sophomore Apache Belle Courtney Bohac. “If there isn’t as many dorms to stay in, then students coming into the new semester that need housing may be put on a longer waiting list.”
While this may be true, those overseeing parts of the project suggest it isn’t a significant concern.
The transition won’t really affect room for non-affiliated students “because the only students that stayed in West Hall [were] soccer students,” said King.
One of the main purposes of the Wesley House is to provide a safe and lively environment for the students to live.
“The Wesley Foundation has done a great job serving students of TJC for many years. This new partnership will attract more students from East Texas and beyond to live in a safe and caring educational environment,” said TJC President Dr. Mike Metke.
This different approach to campus expansion could be a new avenue of acquiring properties for TJC. Directors and administrators are optimistic about the trial negotiation, and if it is successful, then decision-makers at TJC will more than likely make a similar deal in the future.
If any students would like more info about how to become a resident in the new Wesley House for the fall semester, search “Wesley House” on Facebook or go to tylerwesleyhouse.com