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Published May 02, 2012, 08:59 PM

Ground Broken on New UM-Crookston Residence Hall

CROOKSTON, MN (WDAZ-TV) - The University of Minnesota-Crookston is working to solve its student housing shortage. On Wednesday, UMC broke ground to build a multi-million dollar residence hall.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

CROOKSTON, MN (WDAZ-TV) - The University of Minnesota-Crookston is working to solve its student housing shortage. On Wednesday, UMC broke ground to build a multi-million dollar residence hall.

UMC opened a new residence hall three years ago. At that time school officials thought they would have plenty of room to grow. But student population has caught up.

UMC students helped break ground on the latest residence hall just west of the last apartment-style dorms that were finished just a few years ago. It will house 145 students.

"It helps us recruit students, it helps us retain students and it helps us graduate students," UMC Chancellor Dr. Charles Casey said.

Casey says the number of students attending classes on campus has grown by 20 percent over the last three to five years. He says the university has added several new majors and more juniors and seniors are want to live on campus.

"We have also expanded the number of international students on campus which has created part of the demand for housing on campus," Casey said.

In order to ease the housing crunch this past fall, UMC contracted with a nearby hotel to provide 40 students a place to live.

"Any time you have so many students that want to attend your institution, you are doing something right and we just need we have a place for them to live," Residential Life Director Gary Willhite said.

Willhite says because the UMC campus is out more than a mile from Crookston, that's an extra incentive to live on campus.

"And it's a nice walk on a day like today, or a bike ride. While in the middle of winter transportation becomes an issue," Willhite said.

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