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North Arkansas College student housing to be ready for the fall semester

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:07 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - North Arkansas College in Harrison is making progress towards opening its first-ever student housing building.

Opened in 1974, the two-year college has never had student housing. The school announced plans for the two-story, 64 student room dorm in May of 2021. Construction is on pace thanks to warmer than normal temperatures so far this winter.

The housing market in Harrison has been in a spiral. In 2016 there were nearly 500 homes on the market. The number sits closer to 100. Rental properties are even more scarce.

”We’re out of rental properties, it’s just every segment is missing in terms of housing,” said Mayor Jerry Jackson. “We continue to have people move in and grow in the industry, but those people need a place to stay.”

The city offered a $7,000 incentive for contractors building homes in the city limits. In November, the city of Harrison broke ground on what is anticipated to be a 100 home subdivision, the first in Harrison in several years.

“It’s an incentive for the community as well, homeowners can apply for a building permit, and qualify for the incentive,” a local contractor explained. “It’s definitely something that has caught the attention of many local builders who typically don’t work inside the city.”

North Arkansas College plays a big role in the housing situation. It is home to nearly 2,000 students. And never had student housing.

”For North Arkansas College it’s all about economic development and it’s all about the role we play for the Harrison community and the surrounding area,” said Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Rodney Arnold. “There’s a short supply of students from this area and we’ve been talking about adding a residence hall for four or five years now, which we believe could attract students from more far-reaching communities.”

At $4.2 million, phase one is a two-story, 64-student dorm located on the college’s south campus. On top of an eight-acre lot, the housing is being treated as a trial study with hopes it will be a stepping stone for growth.

”We do have somewhat of a master plan where we can add additional facilities if needed,” Arnold explained. “It’s going to be a game-changer, truly change the culture of North Arkansas College.“

The dorm is expected to be ready for students by the beginning of the 2022 Fall semester. Those who live in the dorm will pay room and board, but scholarships and tuition of regular students will see no effect as of the housing.

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