With Too Many Students, Kansas College Turns To Motels

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LINDSBORG, Kan. (KAKE) — A jump in student enrollment is leading to a housing crunch at a small Kansas college.

Bethany College in Lindsborg is having a problem many other small private colleges would love to have: More students than they have housing.

The college currently has 730 students enrolled for this semester - up 10 percent this year over last, and last year was up about 9 percent. So administrators worked with a local motel, the Coronado, booking all the rooms for students.

"I like what our school is doing and how we're using new ways to cope with more students in here," said Bethany sophomore Tanner O'Donnell.

University President Ed Leonard said the college is going to tear down an old, closed two-story dorm and put in its place a new three-story 225-bed dorm. They also plan to remodel other dorms.

"All the residence halls will be new or newly renovated and we should be at a housing capacity that meets the enrollment demand at that time," Leonard said.

President Leonard said a new core curriculum, online art classes, and a small college atmosphere have all contributed to a increased enrollment - A problem the college is happy to handle.

Most of the students at the motel are upperclassmen and athletes, and they're not complaining.

"As you can see the rooms are bigger, nicer, cleaner," said Bethany junior Marcus Bradley. "You've got your own air conditioner."

"The bathrooms are very clean, very spacious," said sophomore James Webley. "You don't have to worry about sharing it with 10 other dudes."

Most of the students KAKE News spoke with said they didn't mind staying in a motel instead of the dorms. And with construction of a new dorm ready to begin soon, there should be enough room to house all the students on campus in the next few years.