Hot Springs, Arkansas – National Park College (NPC) announced plans to revisit construction to expand on-campus housing. The NPC Board of Trustees’ discussed the demand for on-campus housing and potential financing opportunities during the Building and Campus Development Committee meeting ahead of the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting Wednesday. The College opted to delay a previous attempt to construct on-campus housing in April 2022 due to escalated interest rates and construction costs.
Vice President for Administration, Kelli Embry shared, “We had to increase our bed count in fall 2021 to accommodate the demand for housing from our students. In fall 2021, we increased the bed count from 180 to 210, then in fall 2022 we increased it to 240 beds. In fall 2022, we filled all available beds and had a waitlist of over 100. We are again offering 240 beds in fall 2023. Of the 240 beds, only 79 are currently available.”
Currently, Dogwood Hall is 67.08% preleased for fall 2023, compared to only 20.4% last year at the same time. The Office of Residence Life has an additional 38 applications pending and over 55 additional inquiries as of March 24. NPC’s housing development firm, Servitas projects that the College could fill an additional 200 beds based on this type of demand.
After extensive analysis, Servitas has suggested that NPC revisit the plan to add additional housing next to Dogwood Hall. This approach provides significant construction and administrative cost savings. The project they are proposing will have between 166-180 beds. The existing maintenance facility will have to be relocated.
“We intend to use a combination of NPC funds and funds generated from a bond issue and we anticipate the total project cost will not exceed $12 million,” said Embry. She added that NPC’s on-call architect is working on a viable solution that will fit within the budget.
Embry said her team is working on a timeline that will include the approvals and resolutions needed for the maintenance move, the construction project for the new residence hall, and for the issuance of general obligation bonds. The first proposals are planned to be ready for the April board meeting and would most likely be for the maintenance move. Approvals for the on-campus housing project would most likely be presented in May.
NPC Board Chair, Joyce Craft thanked Embry and her team for working to reassess options and bring forward a plan for on-campus housing amid challenging circumstances. “We have had a delay, but despite the challenging economic environment, our administrative team has worked to find a solution to answer the need for additional on-campus housing. I am proud of their perseverance in meeting the needs of our students.”
Dr. John Hogan, NPC President said, “Our students have learned to ask for what they need because we respond to them. We don’t take this trust for granted. This need for housing is a critical one and I am grateful we were able to regroup and find a path forward. Many lives will be impacted because of the ability to provide safe, affordable housing options for our students.”
National Park College was established in 1973 and is located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The College enrolls over 7,000 credit and non-credit students per year. NPC is a comprehensive two-year institution offering associate degrees and certificates as well as continuing education, community services and workforce training.