At the corner of South Ash Street and Centralia College Boulevard, dirt is being churned up and crews are laying the groundwork for new student apartments. The new facility will be owned and managed by Collegiate Housing International, a Spokane-based company that already runs student apartments at Peninsula College in Port Angeles.
The new apartments will be available exclusively to Centralia College students, many of whom will be athletes and international students. There will be 112 beds plus an on-site manager and business office. Rent is expected to be about $750 a month (including wifi, furnishings and all utilities) with a nine-month lease. Construction began earlier this month. The goal is to have the apartments ready for students in fall 2023.
For Centralia College students, this is excellent news. Over the last decade, rental housing for students has become increasingly difficult to find. As scarcity and other economic factors have driven up the cost of housing in Lewis County, many students have simply been priced out of the market. Too many students are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to meet basic needs because of the high cost of housing.
For that reason, the college has made affordable housing a high priority. We already own the Silver Street Apartments at Silver Street and Centralia College Boulevard and a handful of houses near the campus. Those spaces are mostly filled with college athletes and international students. But, unfortunately, so much more is needed.
CC students, particularly in our more unique programs, such as diesel technology, may come from outside the local area, even several states away, and struggle to find affordable local housing. These new apartments will create opportunities for students to live near campus, reduce the pressure on Lewis County’s housing inventory, and contribute to the revitalization of the Main Street core. We’re so excited to see that long-empty lot bustling with activity.
We expect these units will be very popular and we are working through the process of how to apply for and rent the spaces. At Peninsula College, there is a waiting list for apartments and they are looking into additional buildings to meet the demand. At Centralia College, we know the need for affordable housing is high and we’re excited to partner with Collegiate Housing International to make it happen for our students next year.
Bob Mohrbacher is the Centralia College president.