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Southern Adventist University Seeks Creative Ways to Meet Student Housing Needs

Soon-to-be-built cottages are one of the school’s responses to climbing enrollment.

Southern Adventist University
Southern Adventist University Seeks Creative Ways to Meet Student Housing Needs
Exterior architectural rendering of the new Southern Mountain Cottages at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, United States. [Image: Southern Adventist University]

A new home away from home on the north side of Southern Adventist University’s campus in Collegedale, Tennessee, United States, is in the works. Southern Mountain Cottages will provide a new on-campus housing option for students and expand the living spaces available in response to the university’s climbing enrollment numbers.

“Southern is blessed to be experiencing unprecedented levels of growth,” Lisa Hall, dean of students and director of residence life, said. “We want to do everything we can to provide a quality Adventist education and welcoming campus environment for all the students who want to attend our university. Southern Mountain Cottages are a great option for our more independent upperclassmen who still want to be on campus.”

Even in the initial stages, interest from students was overwhelming. “We talked with several hundred students, and every one of them wanted a spot in the new development,” Justin Moore, associate vice president for business operations, said.

Carlos Torres, senior public relations major, recently toured one of the cottages. “The cottages are beautiful!” he said. “They’re a mix of rustic and modern, which I think is really cool. It’s an open area with very modern aspects to it, and you’ll feel like you’re close to nature.”

Currently, 26 cottages are planned for the project — each accommodating four students — with approximately half on track to be finished in time for the Fall 2024 semester. The cottages are high quality and feature all the best finishes that would be found in a high-end home.

Interior architect view of one of the soon-to-be-built Southern Mountain Cottages at Southern Adventist University. [Image: Southern Adventist University]

Nature Setting for New Cottages

Marty Hamilton, associate vice president for facilities, said he feels that not only will the cottages themselves be beautiful, but so will the setting. The landscaping surrounding the cottages will embrace the area’s natural mountain beauty with attractive lighting, pathways, and only limited amounts of concrete.

“We wanted the cottages nestled up in the woods and surrounded by natural landscaping, so we are including things like blueberry bushes and flowers to further add to the natural feel of the development,” Hamilton said.

Located on the northeast edge of White Oak Mountain off Colcord Drive, each 600-square-foot (about 56-square-meter) cottage will include loft-style beds with study areas, a bathroom, a kitchen, a living area, and laundry facilities. They also offer an easily walkable distance to classes and activities, plus a paved, gated road for loading and unloading and parking available along Colcord Drive.

Students living there will have an increased level of independence, so the cottages will be available to upperclassmen who meet the eligibility requirements based on age, completed credit hours, student citizenship, and chapel attendance. Southern Mountain Cottages will have assigned resident assistants and deans.

Hamilton said that the cottages are modern and eco-friendly modular homes, which are built using the same high-quality standards as traditional homes, but they can be constructed off-site and then moved to their final location. Different from a tiny house or mobile home, the cottages are not on wheels or a metal frame, so they will be transported to Southern by truck and then placed onto permanent foundations with a crane. The cottages are being constructed by Wind River Built just up the road in Cleveland, Tennessee, using traditional dimensional lumber construction.

“It’s important to realize what we are creating here on campus. Southern is doing something that is so innovative and out of the box that we have been approached by other universities interested in doing similar developments,” Moore said.

While enrollment projections for Southern are positive, the cottages could potentially be used as guest lodging should that change in the future. Currently, Southern continues to grow. Additional Southern Village student apartments on the south side of campus are also under construction to provide even more student housing, with the first new building also on track for completion before the Fall 2024 semester begins.

Southern Adventist University