New Edison dorm not yet at "break even" point
Funds from dorm used to pay back $26.2M bond
FORT MYERS, Fla. - With three weeks to go before school starts, nearly 20 percent of the new dorms at Edison State College are empty.
On Friday, resident advisers with the new Lighthouse Commons dorm, gave tours of the building to future students.
For incoming freshman Cornelius Bennett the dorms were a deciding factor.
"Florida Gulf Coast University would have been my next choice" if Edison didn't have dorms, said Bennett.
"So this was make-or-break for you?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"Yeah," said Bennett.
A total of 392 students will be able to move in on Aug. 20. With three weeks to go, 318 have registered making the dorm 81 percent full.
"It's helping Edison develop into something bigger than your regular old community college," said incoming freshman Briana Mattera. "I'm so excited."
Edison board member Braxton Rhone hopes that excitement continues because as it stands now the college can't break even.
"Our break even point at the college," said Rhone, "is, I believe, 350 students."
To hit that break even number, the college needs 38 more students to sign up for housing.
The dorm is paid for with a $26.2 million bond from the North Carolina-based bank BB&T. The college has to make yearly payments to pay off the debt.
Rhone says if more students don't sign up for housing the college will dip into reserves to cover the cost.
"Those reserves were set aside specifically for this project," said Rhone. "So those are money that we have budgeted for the purpose of taking care of this."
"The project will cash-flow," said Rhone. "But we do have sufficient reserves and sufficient capital to be able to cover it if we don't."
Before Friday's tour, Be nett express concern about paying $600 a month for the dorm. After the tour, he said he's sold.
"I'm sold. They got me," he said. "Fully furnished rooms, everything's nice."
Read more about Edison's new dorm