Subscribe for 17¢ / day

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Officials at Central Wyoming College are struggling to fill campus housing despite an 11.7 percent increase in enrollment this year.

"Housing has taken a small downtown compared to the past, but the interesting part is that our increase in enrollment is primarily due to local community members who don't need the housing," said Lance Goede, the school's housing manager.

The school's occupancy rate for its apartments and dormitories this spring semester is only 80 percent, Goede said.

"Normally, we're running at 85 percent for the spring semester," he said.

Goede acknowledged CWC housing has been somewhat affected by a new development called College Hill west of the school.

"They (College Hill) primarily serve families, and we've actually seen an increase in traditional-age students over the past few years," he said.

To combat the trend, CWC officials are working with students to make housing more affordable. They're also lowering the price of the school's full meal plan from $795 to $695 a semester and requiring all campus residents to buy a partial meal plan this year.

"This comes from the philosophy that housing exists with the food service, and in the past, a number of people weren't supporting our food service," Goede said.

Officials are also promoting the benefits of college housing through direct mailings to CWC students and their parents. That effort will only gain steam this month.

"I'm seeing a trend back to years past, and seeing an increase in natural (housing) applications this year," Goede said. "But just in case, we're going to do more direct marketing to students and parents. We're also getting people on tours to make sure they are coming to housing.

"We're showing them the new complex (Mote Hall). Mote Hall has become our showcase, and it's top of the line."

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.