TWIN FALLS — If you lived in a college dormitory in years past, it probably had long hallways with double occupancy rooms and a shared bathroom for 20-plus people.
The College of Southern Idaho is in very early discussions about potentially building a new residence hall on campus. But this one would be arranged into apartment-like units with each room or two having its own bathroom.
CSI only has one on-campus dorm — Eagle Hall — and it’s usually full. College officials want to encourage more students to live on campus to get plugged in with student life and activities. And that would mean adapting its housing options to mesh with what students are looking for.
“We’re trying to get away from the word ‘dormitory’ and go toward ‘student housing,’” vice president of administration Jeff Harmon told the Times-News Wednesday.
The topic of a potential new dorm came up Monday during a CSI board of trustees meeting. It was part of a report by physical plant director Allen Scherbinske about summer renovation and maintenance projects.
So far, CSI’s Dormitory Housing Commission has held two meetings about the topic. “It’s just in the thought process,” Harmon said Wednesday.
Construction would likely be a few years down the road. There isn’t a cost estimate yet for the project.
But Harmon said he truly believes the project will move forward. The topic has been on college officials’ radar for a couple of years.
CSI would also pursue a renovation of the existing Eagle Hall dorm into a more contemporary layout. That would happen after the new residence hall is up-and-running.
Unlike the 1970s era when many children grew up sharing one bathroom with their entire family, many students arrive at CSI used to having their own bedroom and bathroom, Harmon said.
“Now, students coming onto campus expect to have that same type of privacy the current dorms don’t allow,” he said.
Taking your shower caddy and walking down a hallway to a communal bathroom is an old concept, Harmon said. “We’re just trying to upgrade the living experience for our on-campus students.”
For the new residence hall, CSI would likely look at two-bedroom units with two bathrooms and a shared living area, he said.
In addition to the Eagle Hall dorm — which was built at least 25 years ago and houses about 240 students —CSI manages the Northview Apartments and Eagle View Apartments.
Both apartment complexes are off Washington Street North and are within walking distance to campus.
CSI doesn’t have plans to renovate the apartments, Harmon said.
Community colleges are often known for having many non-traditional commuter students who live at home or in off-campus apartments.
But some schools like CSI offer housing options.
North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d’Alene, has an on-campus residence hall. There aren’t any plans to expand housing options, college spokesman Tom Greene said.
The residence hall, with opened in 2002, offers “modern, comfortable accommodations” and suite-style rooms, according to its website.
It houses 198 students and includes features such as a TV theater lounge, social lounge and security features like key cards and security cameras.
College of Western Idaho — a community college that opened 2009 in the Treasure Valley — doesn’t have on-campus housing.
College spokesman Mark Browning said it will need to be a topic of conversation someday, but not now.