FVCC Welcomes Students to First Campus Housing Facility

Community celebrates visionary group of college founders with new hall

By Dillon Tabish
Founders Hall, the new student housing facility at Flathead Valley Community College, on Aug. 23, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A week before the first classes of the new semester, Andrew Schultz, an incoming freshman at Flathead Valley Community College, got the first peek of his soon-to-be home.

Schultz and other incoming students, as well as curious community members, toured the latest addition to campus: a 51,500-square-foot student housing facility named Founders Hall. With enough space for 124 students, the new building features a mixture of single- and double-bedroom units adorned with twin beds, dressers and desks, as well as bathrooms. The single units cost $3,240 a semester and the double rooms are $2,678.

Schultz was excited for the opportunity to live on his own for the first time, and meet his new roommate, an incoming student from Missoula.

“Apartments are going to be a lot more pricey and I’m ready to get out of the house and have a little more space to focus on life,” he said.

“It will be a good experience, I think.”

Fifty years since its creation, FVCC continues to grow in new and exciting ways with the unveiling of its first on-campus housing facility. The new $7.8 million facility — built under budget and on time by Swank Enterprises and designed by CTA Architects Engineers — marks the latest evolutionary step for the largest community college in Montana.

“This building will bring a new energy to campus,” President Jane Karas said during an opening ceremony on Aug. 23.

Karas touted the “visionary group” of people who people who founded FVCC a half-century ago and are now the namesake of the housing facility, including Bill McLaren, Norm Beyer, Thelma Hetland, Les Sterling and Owen Sowerwine.

“Because of them and because of you — our community — over the last 50 years this college has turned into an amazing place providing education to people here in Northwest Montana and other places in the state,” Karas said.

The arrival of the housing facility could usher in future growth on campus as school officials have said the next campus developments could include a student center and fitness center in the coming years.

With the fall semester beginning this week, FVCC is welcoming more than 2,400 students to campus for classes. Final enrollment numbers will be tallied in the coming weeks, but the number of people living on campus is set in stone.

The new housing facility sold out and is completely full of its inaugural group of residents, who will be able to enjoy a variety of living amenities, including study rooms, laundry machines and a lounge area with a television where events, including movie nights, will be held. There is also an open outdoor courtyard with lush grass.

Joe Unterreiner, president of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, applauded the new facility as an important addition to campus that will help keep students and graduates in the valley.

“This will help us attract students and create a higher percentage chance that students will stay in the market once they’re here,” Unterreiner said.

FVCC has partnered with the Kalispell Police Department this year and will have a school resource office who will serve on campus for the first time during the academic year.

To be eligible to live in Founders Hall, students must be full-time students taking 12 credits. The rooms will also be rented out during summertime and the eligibility requirements are still being determined, according to school officials.

The college will continue to accept applications for housing throughout the year. For more information about how to apply for student housing, visit www.fvcc.edu/student-housing or contact Residence Life Director Kelly Murphy at (406) 756-4586.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.