San Juan College unveils student-centered housing facility

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FARMINGTON, N.M. – San Juan College has unveiled a project decades in the making, for the first time the school is providing student housing starting this academic year.

Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass, the president of San Juan College, says this is a long-awaited milestone for the school.

“We’ve taken 20 or so years of hopes and dreams and put them into bricks and beams,” said

Pendergrass says in 2013 San Juan College asked their students if they would want to live on campus. 

“We worked with a consulting firm and we actually had the highest results that they had ever seen since they have been doing this work,” she said. 

Pendergrass says 89% of students asked in the survey, said they would live on campus, and those studies also pointed to some of the reasons why.

“Revealed that there is no per bed arrangements for students to be able to rent, there are no close and affordable apartments to the college something that would support students walking to class,” executive VP Edward DesPlas also added. “Another big problem for students renting apartments in the Farmington area is most landlords expect students or tenants to have jobs, to have income that can be verified, to have references on previous places they’ve stayed.”

With these obstacles in mind, San Juan College built a 37,888 square-foot building equipped with 150 beds. And it’s not the usual dorms, DesPlas noted that these are student suits built to be learning-centric, with amenities like cable, Wi-Fi, utilities, water, and even laundry all included in the rent.

“We just want to address housing and food insecurities within our region and we know, here at San Juan College, many of our student’s commute long distances to come to school and we want to provide them with the opportunity to live here on campus,” Pendergrass said.

Because there are benefits to living close to school. 

“We have built the best environment for our students possible so that their behavior, their study habits, their learning, their motivation will be the highest possible,” said Pendergrass. 

Students will begin moving in this Saturday, and DesPlas said if this project is successful that the university will consider building more student housing.