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JANESVILLE

As the UW System considers merging its two- and four-year campuses, UW-Rock County still has student housing in mind.

UW-Rock County officials are closer to determining whether student housing is right for the college, but they won’t decide until at least May, Dean Charles Clark said.

Clark will present an update to the Janesville City Council on Monday.

Over the summer, Clark asked a committee to evaluate the desirability of adding student housing on or near UW-Rock County’s campus. The committee has organized public forums and contracted with a company to do a feasibility marketing study to get further input, Clark said.

The committee has finished preliminary work with the goal of making a recommendation by spring, he said.

Within the group of 13 campuses close to UW-Rock County’s size, more than half have housing of one sort or another, Clark said.

“There are actually smaller campuses than Rock that have housing,” he said.

UW-Richland has about one-third of UW-Rock County’s enrollment, but close to 20 percent of its campus is international students. UW-Richland offers a great international program, but part of the reason it attracts those students is because it has rooms for them, Clark said.

“That wouldn’t be happening if UW-Richland didn’t have housing,” he said.

In October, the UW System announced plans to merge two- and four-year campuses. UW-Rock County could lose its identity and fall under UW-Whitewater’s name while keeping its campus open.

Clark isn’t sure how the merger will affect interest in student housing. The merger is moving forward, and the switch could happen as soon as July, though it will take years to iron out kinks, Clark said.

“There are so many details to be worked out that all of the details won’t be settled, all the questions won’t be answered on July 1, 2018,” he said.

UW officials reset plans for a UW-Rock County dormitory in summer.

Back in 2013, the Rock County Board agreed to donate land to the Rock County Foundation to build a dorm. Those plans never took off, and the land was never donated.

The foundation is no longer involved in the plans. If a dorm were built, a private developer would build it, and another company would manage it.

“We are nowhere near that stage,” Clark said.

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