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Navajo VP celebrates Dine College housing complex, union building renovations

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TSAILE, Ariz.—Students at the main campus of Dine’ College now have new housing. On Sept. 18, college faculty, administration, special guests and the general public celebrated 32 new housing units and the newly renovated Student Union Building. A Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education funded the new housing units and building renovations, at a cost of more than $15 million. The housing units totaled $13 million and the SUB renovations were completed at a cost of $2.1 million. The housing complex incorporated Navajo cultural elements and are a mix of two and three-bedroom units with a full service kitchen, bathroom, washer, dryer, microwave, refrigerator and stove. Additionally, each unit will have wireless Internet access for students to work on their studies. Perimeter fencing around the complex was included for child safety and security. Dr. Maggie George, Dine’ College President, said the SUB was constructed in 1972 and a lot of work went into making it shiny and new. The college utilized the “one stop shop” concept and the SUB now houses student services, admissions, financial aid, registrar, and student advisors. “It’s still a work in progress. We have some monies that we will be putting into the auditorium and we’re hoping to have that done by December,” George said. She reported that Dine’ College received another $16 million grant from DOE three weeks ago, which will be split and used for student success and programming focused on access to higher education, retention, persistence and graduation rates. The other $8 million will go to building renovations and for fiber optic connection from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority last mile project. Additionally, Dine’ College received word earlier in the week about their selection for a $2.5 million grant for a STEM initiative from the National Science Foundation. Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez provided the keynote address. “On behalf of my nalí, President Russell Begaye, we congratulate you on this milestone for the college. Take care of your renovated student union building, it cost more than $2 million to complete,” said Vice President Nez. The new housing units are going to provide Navajo families an opportunity to return to school and reach their educational goals, an admirable goal in step with self-determination and self-reliance, he noted. “The one stop concept should be out there at all our communities. Every chapter wants a senior citizens center, chapter house and youth center. With the budget deficit, we need to start promoting the one stop shop concept,” he said. Vice President Nez attended Dine’ College as a student and as an adjunct faculty member, teaching classes in history and government. A ribbon cutting ceremony, barbecue luncheon and a tour of the housing units concluded the celebration. Read full article
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