Oak Hills Receives $100,000 Grant For Construction
Oak Hills Christian College will be celebrating its 90th anniversary this weekend with a new addition to the historic campus. Construction on the new residence hall has been going smoothly since breaking ground in May.
The addition of the Robert H. Thompson Memorial Hall is part of $4,300,000 renovation project for the school. Most recently, the George W. Neilson Foundation contributed $50,000 to the project. It pledged an additional $50,000 to be given later in the year.
“We’re grateful for the Neilson Foundation for example. And, to the Rotary who has committed funds to the project and there are some alumni right here in the Bemidji area, and other friends of Oak Hills, that have contributed substantially to the project from right here in the Bemidji community and we’re really grateful for that,” said President Dr. Steve Hostetter.
Current on campus housing is not at full capacity, with about 15% of students living off campus in the surrounding area. The college’s President hopes the addition will help change this over time.
“The residence hall that we’re building is replacing the old ones that we had. We’re not adding new space so it’s essentially replacement. However, in addition to providing much better living conditions so there is a better learning environment for our students, we also want to hopefully bring in more students.”
Current students are excited to see the progress.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the development of the new building. If I’m not able to enjoy it, hopefully my kids will be able to in the future,” said Anderson Saint George, a senior Addictions Counseling major at Oak Hills.
Blake Dragt, a sophomore Sports Management major, chose to stay on campus for the upcoming year because of the development. “I could have lived in the apartments this year, but I wanted to live in the dorms so I could move into the new dorms second semester.”
Once completed, students will be moved out of two dormitories into the new building. The east and west halls will be demolished and cleared for a lakeside view.
The project is part of a larger ten year plan to renovate the grounds. Last October, Beltrami County received a $500,000 grant to reconstruct part of the county road leading into the college. The money was used to widen the road, create a sidewalk and add lighting fixtures.