JOHNSTOWN - Days before classes will begin next week, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and rural development officials unveiled the newest student housing Thursday.
Raider Hall, which is on County Road 142 next to the FMCC?campus, was completed this week and will house 144 students, who will begin moving in Sunday.
The project doubles the number of residential beds for students.
Fulton-Montgomery Community College has opened Raiders Hall, shown above on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan )
The $7.1 million project was completed just shy of nine months, and FMCC President Dustin Swanger said the completion came just in time for the start of the new school year.
"This was a stressful project from the get-go because we knew the timeline was tight," Swanger said. "And unlike some other construction projects, we couldn't open in October. I mean the deadline was the deadline. We had to be ready because students had to move in. There was no plan B, so we're delighted that it's ready."
The building is a modular structure, meaning it was constructed in sections in Pennsylvania and moved to the college site.
Students will occupy every unit in the new structure. College officials said 50 students are on a waiting list.
The list proves the new dorms were needed, said Swanger.
He said some students would have found housing elsewhere in the county had it not been for this project.
"I have no doubt that some of the students would not be here," he said. "Parents are much more comfortable leaving their children in a supervised environment."
The project was funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was part of an $11.3 million student housing project. The USDA?provided a loan for that amount.
The Raiders Hall units bring the total number of residential beds to 288.
There will be 294 students living on campus, college officials said.
Beginning Wednesday, FMCC's international student population began moving into International Hall, a designated area of Fulton Hall, while new and returning students will begin moving into Raiders Hall, Fulton Hall and Montgomery Hall on Sunday, college officials said. International Hall, Fulton Hall and Montgomery Hall already existed next to the new Raiders Hall housing.
Swanger said the college has three residence life directors, 10 residence assistants, two full-time security guards along with part-time security guards, two full-time maintenance people and a part-time maintenance person, and many security cameras and emergency phones.
Doug O'Brien, deputy undersecretary for Rural Development of the USDA, said community colleges are becoming more vital than ever. He said the USDA Rural Development agency finds it important to be involved with such projects.
"Many times, community colleges are the anchor institution for the region," O'Brien said. "And beyond that educational piece, they can really serve as the glue for the economic strategy for the region. And making investments into the future for this institution, I think it's a great signal to the students and to the business community on how important a great educational foundation is."
The college is charging $3,495 for single rooms and $3,195 for double rooms per semester at Raiders Hall.
Raiders Hall has 36 suites, each with two single rooms and one double room, for a total of 72 single rooms and 36 double rooms.