New development addresses need for student housing at College of Charleston

In an attempt to address the need for additional student housing near CofC, city leaders reviewed plans for more student housing units near campus.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 11:02 PM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 4:11 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - In an attempt to address the need for additional student housing near the College of Charleston, city leaders reviewed plans for more student housing units near campus on Thursday.

City of Charleston officials said a lot of College of Charleston students end up living off campus because there’s “obviously” not enough housing on campus to support their student population.

“When we can bring more student housing closer to campus, that will bring students out of the neighborhoods, which is always a livability concern. And provide opportunities for those students to be able to live, walk to campus, walk to those college experiences,” Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability Robert Summerfield said.

Summerfield said sometimes students live as far as West Ashley or the upper peninsula, and because Charleston does not have a robust transportation system-

“That means all of those students are driving. They’re all driving from those distant areas, trying to find parking,” Summerfield said.

According to the College of Charleston, they have about 9,900 undergraduate students, and 3,000 average total beds on campus.

This project, although in its early stages, provides two buildings of dorm-style units for students. They’re set to be in between Coming Street and St. Philip Street about a block back from Calhoun Street.

Summerfield said the plan also includes a supportive environment around the dorm-style buildings, including things like recreation space or additional classroom space.

“So, students aren’t necessarily needing to go into the neighborhoods or trek very far away from where they’re living,” Summerfield said.

Max Mast, a recent graduate from the College of Charleston, said finding housing close to campus was a constant struggle, and that decent housing is a right all students should have.

“If people don’t have a secure place to live then how can you expect them to be successful students and then at that point, successfully represent the school that they graduated from,” Mast said.

The College of Charleston provided the following statement:

“The College is always evaluating opportunities to provide on-campus housing options for our students. We are currently working with state government to solicit public bids to meet our student housing needs. The College is aware of the efforts by McAlister Development to provide additional student housing on property under their control. If they respond to the coming RFP, their project will be given serious consideration.”

Summerfield said Thursday was the very first step in what he’s expecting to be a very extensive process.

More details on the project will be available as they get further along in the process.