College buys motel

From the The Brunswick News

A former Hawthorn Suites motel near Interstate 95 will become part of an extended College of Coastal Georgia campus this fall when it is converted to student housing.

The College of Coastal Georgia Foundation, a fundraising group, purchased the 44-room motel at Gateway Boulevard, near Golden Isles Parkway, for $1.4 million for the college to use to relieve crowding in its on-campus residence hall.

"Through (the foundation's) real estate limited liability corporation, they're purchasing this and leasing it back to the college," college president Valerie Hepburn said Wednesday. "(The former motel) will be apartments for upperclassman. We've had enthusiastic response from returning and older students who are commuters."

The 10-year-old building had been in foreclosure, and will require some repairs and modifications. The suites, though, are large enough to accommodate more than one resident, Hepburn said.

"It's a real nice addition, and we wish it were closer to campus, but it's a nice greenspace and a safe neighborhood," Hepburn said of the site about four miles from campus. "Students are looking at them now, and we've already got 22 commitments."

The college opened its only on-campus residence hall in July 2011. By this past academic year, the $14 million Lakeside Village had more students wanting to live there than the residence hall could accommodate.

"It's a big help, because it's been very difficult in this community to find affordable, safe and available housing for young people," Hepburn said of the new facility.

"While it's fun to live on (St. Simons) Island, that means (students) are gone from campus events. We want them on the mainland as much as possible," she said.

Incoming college president Gregory Aloia, who will take office Monday after Hepburn leaves Sunday to join the staff of the University System of Georgia, has been a supporter of the purchase, Hepburn said.

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Release Date: 6/27/2013
Source: The Brunswick News

By SARAH LUNDGREN