Housing selection for the 2019-2020 school year starts soon, and many students are struggling to decide where they want to go. For rising juniors and seniors, the options are quite vast. Between Wright Hall, Wright Avenue Apartments and all of the south campus dorms, there is quite a decision to be made.
Now, the college has also offered the Opera House in downtown Alma as a possible living option for those who will be upper classmen in the fall.
The Opera House was originally built back in 1880, before Alma College was even established. It was home to several traveling events throughout the years and was even used as the meeting center to announce the establishing of Alma College in 1886.
After the Opera house closed, several stores moved in to the first floor to keep the building in use. Unfortunately, there was a fire in 2010 and the interior of the building was completely destroyed. Thanks to its sturdy solid brick foundation, the building was able to stay standing.
Ownership of the building has passed hands many times since the fire, finally belonging to Alma College. The school has, for some time now, planned to turn the Opera House into student apartments. Thus, giving students the opportunity to live off campus while still ] retaining their meal plans and scholarships.
The City of Alma and Alma College were able to come together in 2017, when ownership transferred to the school, to raise $4.3 million of their preliminary goal of $5 million for the renovation budget. In order to live in the Opera House, students will be required to have a minimum of a 3.50 GPA.
“I was really interested in living in the Opera House! The biggest issue I have found, however, is finding enough people with that high of a GPA who want to live in the Opera House instead of Wright Hall,” said Nolan Kukla (’21).
“I feel like the high GPA requirement is completely understandable. In order to live off campus, I cannot blame the school for wanting the GPA to be so high. However, for me, I cannot live in the opera house because of my late rehearsals in the theatre department. It is unlikely to think I would be able to make that trip to and from every night,” said Sam Moretti (’21).
“I personally feel like a group of friends of that size, will not be able to make the GPA requirement and will all be willing to live that far off campus. I think it is a nice idea, I am just worried there will not be the numbers to fill the Opera House,” said George El-Hage (’21).
Another question that has been raised several times, is what rooms are going to look like specifically, and how many people will be able to fit in a room?
“All the bedrooms in the Opera House will be single rooms. Most will be similar in size but will vary depending on the number of bedrooms. Apartments will have options of 2, 3, 4 or 5 bedrooms. Apartments will also have a kitchen and living space in addition to the bathroom and bedrooms,” said Alice K r a m e r , Director of Residence Life.
Parking is also being taken into consideration.
“Currently, there is a city parking lot behind the Opera House. The college is working with the city to arrange parking options for residents of the Opera House somewhere nearby,” said Kramer.
Housing Costs will go up for those who decide to apply to live in the Opera House, but meal plan cost will go down. In the end, it costs almost the same., according to Kramer.