by Anayeli Ruiz
BIG SPRING - The Southwest Collegiate Institute of the Deaf in Big Spring is growing by leaps and bounds. So much so that housing has become a major issue. It's a problem that isn't going away.
"We have a great problem. We have increased the enrollment at SWCID and we have seen our enrollment go from a little over 100 to close to 200 in the last year," Howard College President, Cheryl Sparks, said.
SWCID is running out of housing room. SWCID says they're happy to see an increase in enrollment which brings in more money but there's just not enough room to house all the students.
"As we all know in West Texas, we are enjoying a boom so it has been difficult to find housing for our students," Sparks said.
Now they've resorted to some extreme measures, they're turning storage rooms into apartments and they've also bought FEMA trailers. But they cant keep the trailers for long, so they are looking into a long term solution.
"We are looking for a permanent solution and we are calling it the SWCID village. Its basically a concept where we have a community center and four pods of small resident bungalows," Sparks said.
They hope that with this village they can add housing for 60 more students. The project would cost a whopping $3.5 million and the project would be done in phases over the next three to four years.
The only problem is they don't have money for the project and the College knows with all the budget cuts, they can't go to the State for funding.
"What we are doing with SWCID village, it is actually a fundraising effort and we have started working submitting grants to foundations trying to seek private support," Sparks said.