Leasing, insurance rules sour CWC's Jackson housing deal

Dec 17, 2013 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

College administrators say they would have to rent every bed in every room for 12 months out of the year to keep from losing money.

Administrators at Central Wyoming College say they still can't find a feasible option for student housing in Jackson.

"We had high expectations, (but) it doesn't work for us," said Ron Granger, CWC's vice president for administrative services. "And it's not even just the price."

He has been working with the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort since March, trying to lease apartments for 24 to 32 students who would live in a new facility being constructed on Powderhorn Lane.

Granger said too many factors out of CWC's control have soured the deal.

For one thing, he said CWC would have to lease every bed in every room for 12 months out of the year to keep from losing money. That requirement would be difficult to meet considering the nine-month school year.

"We would have to look at subletting to non-students, (but) our insurance says they won't cover us," Granger told the CWC Board of Trustees. "We'd have to go (elsewhere) to get insurance for those three months. That's when we start losing money on those rents."

In addition, the school would have to rent rooms to an equal number of men and women in order to lease every bed. Otherwise, Granger said some of the apartments would be co-ed.

"I have reservations about doing that," he said. "As a college if we put (men and women) in the same room, the liability starts falling on us."

JHMR had proposed charging CWC about $572 per bed, or $2,287 per apartment, with a 3 percent minimum rate increase each year. CWC would have charged students $677 per bed per month to build up a reserve fund in the auxiliary housing budget in Jackson.

"An auxiliary has to pay for itself," Granger explained. "It has to break even, or if it doesn't (break even) one year it has to do more than break even the next year to cover it."

He said it's better to have excess funds to cover unforeseen expenses.

Still trying

Granger said he will continue looking for affordable housing options for students in Jackson. He has been in touch with the owners of other apartments that are available for rent at lower rates, primarily because the rooms are unfurnished.

Granger said CWC likely could provide furniture that is currently in storage.

"That would cut down on costs by almost $300 per apartment," he said. "We could give students a better rate and do it so we don't have to rent (the rooms) out in the summer to break even."

Regardless, he said it still could be difficult to secure the rooms considering the housing demand in Jackson.

"It's a tough market," he said. "The biggest problem they have is they don't know if they'll have apartments. ... It might be we can get four (apartments) instead of six or seven, but we have to figure something out. We're trying to work with them and see what we can do."

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