'A good investment': Holland College buying properties to meet student housing demands

Holland College has continued to expand its available student housing to accommodate the ever-growing student population.

College purchased 2 homes on Kent Street to accommodate 11 students

Holland College purchased the house at 271 Kent Street, located directly across from the school. (Google Maps)

Holland College has continued to expand its available student housing to accommodate the ever-growing student population.

The college purchased a single-family home at 271 Kent Street and a duplex at 277 Kent this summer for an undisclosed amount and spent $25,000 in combined renovations for both buildings to prepare them for the 11 students that now live in them.

Mike O'Grady, the college's vice president for strategic planning, said it wasn't a significant amount of money in the overall scheme of things.

"If you look at those 11 student tuitions, most of which are international students, you'll see that very quickly it was a good investment," he said.

"If we could not find accommodation for students we would have not have those students in our population."

Houses needed minimal renovations

O'Grady said the two new houses were "pretty much ready for occupation" and that it took a minimal amount of work to have them ready for the students.

According to him, 271 Kent needed an additional shower and door locks.

277 Kent needed the entrance modified slightly, a fire escape added and several rooms needed to be repainted. 

College was 'scrambling' for accomodations

The purchase of the two houses is one part of Holland College's push to find space for its increasing student population.

All 186 beds in the college's Glendenning Hall residence were claimed in January, O'Grady said, with hundreds more students left on the waiting list.

So, the college is spending more time purchasing up available housing in the downtown area for students to live in — such as the two on Kent Street.

The college's new four-storey residence building will have one, two, and three-bedroom apartment-style units. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"The timing was very good because we did have excess demand for campus housing and we definitely wanted to accommodate as many of our students as we could," O'Grady said.

"In the end we were obviously scrambling for additional spaces and the availability of those houses at that point was a great thing."

Next year the college plans to have additional on-campus accommodations, with a new 80-bed residence on Grafton Street.

With files from Laura Chapin