Biola University set for student boom

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts. The new five-story dormitory is on the site of the former Horton Hall and brings the total number of dormitories on campus to 10. Male and female students will live in separate wings in the facility. The new dorm has 203 rooms with 409 beds, compared with 53 rooms with 107 beds in the old building that was built in 1959. Downstairs there is a basement area with a laundry room, game room and kitchen. Arriving freshmen and family members, who hauled boxes, suitcases and clothing on hangers out of the car trunks and moving vans Friday, were happy to be moving into the new building. “I like that it is new and we don’t have to worry about anything,” said Monica Schumacher, 17, of Elk Grove, near Sacramento. LA MIRADA – Biola University officials received approval Thursday from the fire marshal to open the newest dormitory on campus and by the weekend, a steady steam of students wheeling bikes and carrying suitcases were moving in. Horton Hall is the latest facility to be completed in a building boom that began five years ago on the campus to meet the needs of a growing student population. This year, the student body has swelled to 4,500 full-time students. “We had to race to get it done in time, but we feel good about it all coming together for the students,” said Ken Bascom, senior director of facilities, planning and construction at the Christian university in La Mirada. “This is absolutely a good thing. It makes me feel better that my oldest daughter is moving into a great environment like this,” added her mother, Marcia Schumacher. The university, which was founded in 1908 as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and moved to its present location in 1959, has grown rapidly in recent years. For example, in 1995 the enrollment was only 2,600. But after several years of breaking enrollment records because of a high number of graduating high school seniors and increased interest by parents in sending their children to a Christian school, the university was running out of room, said Bascom. “Everywhere was overcrowded,” he said. The solution to the enrollment growth was construction of $53 million in new campus facilities, including a new library, remodeling of the old library, the new Horton Hall, a cafeteria and gymnasium expansion, a parking structure with jogging track and soccer field on the roof and a facility services building. A separate project – a new classroom and office building for the school of business – is under construction and expected to be completed by March. Increased enrollment has also forced Biola to purchase nine single-family homes and six of the 12 apartment complexes along Rosecrans Avenue, between Valley View and Biola avenues, making the university a major landowner in the city. The growth on the campus has created some tensions in the city, according to La Mirada Councilman Hal Malkin. When four to six students would rent a house, it caused parking problems on residential streets, he said. To improve the situation, the City Council created permit parking along portions of two streets near the university – Roma Drive and Biola Avenue, he said. But overall, having a thriving university in the city is a bonus, he said. “It is a university that has earned national and international acclaim, and the wonderful students do a lot of community outreach,” he said. “They also contribute to the local economy, like using the Starbucks up the street.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more