Florida college can’t fill new dorms

Community college students can live in a brand-new residence hall at Edison State College in Ft. Myers, Florida. But the $26.3 million Lighthouse Commons is only two-thirds full, reports the News Press. That means the 405-bed complex will lose money this year.

Standard rates are $3,300 per semester, per student for two-bedroom units, or $3,000 for each student living in a four-bedroom unit; all utilities are included.

The complex was 74 percent full at the start of the fall semester, but “several dozen students were evicted for violating dorm policies or non-payment, graduated or left for other reasons,” reports the News Press. At the start of spring semester, the occupancy rate was down to 65 percent.

LightHouse Commons will have a wait list within two years, predicts Russell Watjen, vice president of student affairs.

Security guards keep non-residents from entering the building without an escort, but some residents complain of problems outside the building.

Arthur Magiera, a 19-year-old sophomore from Naples, remains in LightHouse Commons this term, but said drug and alcohol use among other students has been a problem. He also questions strict residence hall policies, like the one governing visitors of the opposite sex.

“I can’t have my girlfriend here past midnight,” he said. “They enforce that but don’t do anything about what’s happening outside the building.”

Late at night, Magiera said groups of intoxicated students congregate outdoors and intimidate residents.

Ten of 28 Florida community and state colleges offer on-campus housing. Many campuses also offer four-year degrees in vocational fields.