ROSEBURG, Ore., Apr. 25, 2023 – Umpqua Community College purchased three buildings in downtown Roseburg and will convert them into housing for students, along with some additional community learning space. UCC paid $1.925 million for the three buildings for a total of 62,000 square feet.
The college has been renting the former Flegel Center, now named the Hawk’s Nest, on Oak Street, since 2019 and will take ownership and continue to improve the building. It will also renovate and create housing in the old Newberry’s department store on Jackson Street, previously the home of Redeemers Fellowship, and also renovate a third building, the old Post Office at the corner of Cass and Stephens which is currently unoccupied.
“Roseburg has already enjoyed the benefits of having students living downtown which provides the opportunity for them to shop at local businesses and volunteer for events. We believe almost 100 additional students will continue to help with economic and cultural vibrancy as well as ensure our students have somewhere to live while they learn,” commented Dr. Rachel Pokrandt, President of UCC.
Construction to upgrade the Hawks Nest and remodel the other two buildings will begin this summer and will be phased in over the next few years. The purchases are part of the college’s strategic plan that aims to grow programming by ensuring local students, and those from out of the area, have a place to live, work and learn. “There is a lot of buzz in the state about workforce housing. Over 70% of UCC students hold a job and many of those are full-time. If you’ve gone out to eat, gone to the grocery store, had your car serviced or grabbed a coffee any time recently you’ve probably been served by a UCC student. Student housing is workforce housing,” Pokrandt said.
Roseburg City Manager Nikki Messenger salutes the move on the part of the college as the next phase in the revitalization of the downtown, which the city has been working on for a number of years. “Downtown is full of life right now, with thriving new and older businesses. The presence of students downtown will add value to what the city has done to support economic success for our downtown businesses,” said Messenger. The UCC Board of Education is highly engaged in the vision to increase housing opportunities. Board Chair Steve Loosley commented, “The college has been a great steward of public funds over the past few years, and we are proud to be in a position to invest in the college and the community in this way.”
The college also owns Hawks Landing, a building off NE Stephens Street that houses 45 students and has been occupied since the summer of 2021.