CALDWELL, Idaho — The College of Idaho has the largest incoming class in history on their hands this year, and one of the highest total enrollments ever, and with a goal to keep the majority of their students in on campus housing, they’re even having to house students in the vacant President's House on campus.
Now, to alleviate the lack of housing, they’re teaming up with local company indieDwell to create more housing, out of shipping containers.
“We probably have like 18 vacancies or something, but it’s not a, not a complete room, it’s like one bed in a double or a bed in a triple,” said Jen Nelson, Director of Residence Life and Associate Dean of Students at The College of Idaho.
That lack of vacancies leaves The College of Idaho with a waitlist on its hands for single room availability on campus.
“We have a record number of students on campus this year and we were looking for a solution for housing that would be quick and affordable,” said Nelson.
Insert indieDwell; they’re a company Six On Your Side has told you about before, based in Caldwell, with a goal to bring modern, affordable housing to the United States using shipping containers. And they’ve even received some national attention for it.
“What the end product is is not like a long rectangular box, which is what you think of when you think of a shipping container,” said Nelson.
No, in fact, when looking at the final product, you would never guess they were once rectangular boxes traveling across the ocean on a cargo ship.
“There’s beautiful finishes, beautiful floors, nice big windows, lots of natural light,” said Nelson.
Creating dorms out of shipping containers is a first for indieDwell, but it will create 54 rooms for the college.
“It’s five single rooms with a common area,” said Nelson.
Students on campus are pretty excited to see this project come to fruition.
“It’s a way for us to bring in more students, um, living on campus,” said Blake Cowman, Student Body President at The College of Idaho.
That's an important goal for The College of Idaho, which currently houses nearly 65 percent of its student body on campus.
“That way, you know, you can come home after class, you can be in your room, but then, it’s so easy for you to come out and come to student government events or come to a sporting game,” said Cowman.
As the project wraps up, students will be able to pitch ideas for how parts of the two buildings should look, and names for the buildings, which will sit right next to the ketchup and mustard apartments on campus.
The project is expected to wrap up in late January, ahead of the start of spring semester which begins in February.