North Arkansas College in Harrison opens its first dorm


HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) – North Arkansas College in Harrison is providing relief to a tight housing market.

The school has dedicated the Pioneer Villas residence hall on its south campus. Since its opening in 1974, NAC has been strictly a suburban college.

Beginning this fall semester, he offered residency in the 64-bed dormitory along Pioneer Drive. NAC officials broke ground on the $3.9 million facility last May. The two-story dormitory contains 48 single rooms and 16 double rooms, a shared space and a manager’s apartment.

“What’s also interesting is that we have three international students living here,” said chairman Dr Rick Massengale. “If you live in France or England, it’s hard to come here and shop for an apartment. So they were able to move in and go home. It gives them a chance, if you will, to have a community.

Jacques Njeanwobe, a French-born basketball player, is entering his second year of college and his first with the Pioneers.

“I feel like the dorms (are) a blessing, to be honest, because you’re around everything, you’re walking distance to everything,” Njeanwobe said. “For kids like me who don’t have a car, it’s much easier to get to the gym or just go to school if you want to study in the morning. It’s just easier to do all of that.

Harrison Economic Development Commission (EDC) officials report that available housing is the biggest challenge affecting the city’s growth. They admit pressure on rental property in the city, taken up most of the year by NAC students.

“We just have a shortage of homes, and we need to make progress,” said Bob Largent of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce. “It’s the longest pole in the tent. Getting someone to buy, develop, build, and sell homes takes longer. This is not an overnight project.

NAC leaders already have plans for a phase two project, consisting of a second dormitory similar to the first. The NAC says it will not move forward with the project until it can ensure that further development will not affect student prices.

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