Fifty years later, students are still the foundation at ATCC
Foundation Hall welcomes students back to the corner of 17th Avenue and Jefferson.
One year ago, 318 17th Avenue East in Alexandria was a dirt plot. Today, it's where students plot their futures in Foundation Hall.
The school year has begun; the grand opening hoopla was held and now it's time to get down to business - and the hall is doing pretty well.
Director of Student Housing and Foundation Hall Manager Jenny Odland said they are at full occupancy.
"We're one of the few twoyear colleges in Minnesota to have on-campus housing," Odland said. "I think the students are very happy here."
First year students at Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC)Shane Martin and Stephanie Hiltner confirmed Odland's presumption. Martin is a fashion management major and Hiltner is pursuing her associate degree.
"I absolutely love it," said Martin. "I'm definitely going to be applying next year."
Rents have remained the same as listed last fall; $520 per person for a four-bedroom and $570 per person for a two-bedroom suite.
What is not as predicted, is the renter demographic.
Originally, the ATCC Foundation board thought the apartments would be more appealing to women. The majority of renters, 65 percent, are male.
When assigning students to the hall's 41 rooms, Odland strategically positioned students so majors weren't clumped together. All four floors of the building are coed but roommates are same-sex.
Prevalent majors are law enforcement, diesel mechanic, child development and the two-year associate degree.
There are a lot of law enforcement students," Odland said.
Most students moved into the hall on August 25. Hiltner and Martin each had a different experience. Hiltner arrived early and was able to take full advantage of the elevator. Martin arrived later in the day.
"It was kind of hectic," he said. "But fun," Hiltner added.
Both are enjoying the college experience and diversity of their roommates.
Although they are studying different subjects, Hiltner said, she and her roommates have similar personalities.
"I love my roommates," Hiltner said. "I do too," Martin agreed.
Five resident assistants monitor the hall with one head resident assistant overseeing the crew. Students who live in Foundation Hall can reach an aide 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Proximity to ATCC is one of the conveniences parents liked about the student housing suites, Odland said.
Students don't have to drive; they can just walk across the street to attend classes. If students do drive, there is ample parking in the shared parking lot with ATCC. Foundation Hall parking is designated by blue line markings.
A landscaping feature to the south of the parking lot sets the hall grounds apart from other buildings in the industrial area. Trees and shrubs will grow atop the mound and provide shading for future generations.
THE LONG HALL
ATCC president Kevin Kopischke prophesied a second building at the groundbreaking ceremony in October 2011. Odland said it will be a few years before that will be evaluated, based on the success of Foundation Hall.
The ATCC Foundation owns the Foundation Hall building that sits in the same location where a student center and bookstore once stood. Kopischke said the center had been on that corner since the 1960s. It was demolished to make way for the new structure.
At the grand opening ceremony, foundation board president Jon Hall said the building far exceeds expectations and hopes for the students and the future of the college.
"Our goal is the financial well-being of the college and supporting the students," Hall said.
Hall noted that foundation board members come from many backgrounds, but any agendas other than that of the foundation and the college are left at the door when members meet.
"We are lucky that the college and the foundation have the same mission," Odland said.
Kopischke said there is an aura about Alexandria and the college is pleased to be such an important component of the community - not just in Alexandria, but for all of West Central Minnesota and beyond.
Students seeking residency at Foundation Hall were put on a waiting list after filling out an online application. A lease agreement and criminal background check were required before admittance into the student housing community. For more information on Foundation Hall, call (320) 762-4660 or visit www.alextechhousing.com.
All apartments are fully furnished and decorated in warm colors with designer furniture.
High speed Internet, a 42-inch flat screen TV, cable and all utilities are included in monthly rents.
Rooms have full kitchens and private bedrooms.
Renters have access to a resident assistant 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.