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College opens first residence hall

21 incoming freshmen will be able to live in shared, supervised housing. They arrive Saturday.

August 19, 2010|By Cindy Frazier, cindy.frazier@latimes.com
  • Alumni Billy Zwick, left, furniture vendor Mark Caplan, and student Enrique Escobar, assemble a bed in the new student housing for Laguna College of Art and Design on move-in day.
Alumni Billy Zwick, left, furniture vendor Mark Caplan,… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

This year, for the first time, Laguna College of Art & Design students will be able to live in campus housing.

The housing is located at 793 Laguna Canyon Road, between the Sawdust Festival and Art-A-Fair, in a converted retail center about 3/4 mile from downtown Laguna Beach. The college is located about a half-mile inland.

The South Campus Residence Hall will house 21 students in five furnished units that were just completed by the landlord, Mark Orgill, according to Jennifer Daniels, a college spokeswoman. That is about 20% of the incoming class.

The application process for the apartments was open to all incoming freshmen, with priority going to those coming from outside of a 100-mile radius of Orange County, Daniels said.

"The transition from home to college can be challenging for younger students, especially those from outside southern California," said college President Dennis Powers. "Student housing, run and supervised by the college, can ease that transition, making it easier for a young person to launch their studies in art and design.

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"We hope to have even larger quarters in the future. This is one more step in the steady evolution of Laguna's hometown college."

The units each house four or six students and are furnished with a sofa, chair and dining set. The bedrooms are furnished with two twin beds, desks with chairs and dressers. The units also have kitchenettes with built-in appliances, a community room with cable TV, work spaces and laundry facilities.

The living quarters were converted from leased facilities formerly used as teaching space.

"Mark Orgill promised and delivered in three months an extensive remodel of the buildings used for classrooms and senior studios into five apartments for 21 students," said Vice President of Academic Affairs Jonathan Burke. "Double crews were working seven days a week to finish this project on time for students to begin moving in on Aug. 21."

The housing units promote shared living and are under the supervision of a residential coordinator. Roommates and units are assigned based on compatibility as determined by a questionnaire, according to the college.

Assigned roommates will be encouraged to coordinate cleaning, grocery buying/sharing, cooking, decorating, carpooling, and arrange for the frequency of guests, and will serve as a training ground for the young people in how to live independently, college officials said.

"There are many students throughout the country who wish to begin their art education at LCAD," Burke said. "However, many parents find it difficult allowing their child to attend college without supervised housing. I am grateful the Board of Trustees made this a priority and quickly supported the opportunity to create freshmen housing."

The addition of the dorms gives more students the opportunity to attend Laguna College, and college officials hope that will translate into the ability to attract and enroll the most talented art students possible.

The students will begin to move into their new digs on Saturday.

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