Student-athlete housing comes to Gulf Coast State College

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - In the past, Gulf Coast State College has leased apartments throughout Panama City and Panama City Beach for certain student-athletes to live in.

The homes are near the softball field. (WJHG/WECP)

Now the college has partnered with a local builder to provide townhomes a lot closer to campus for the student-athletes.

Dr. Melissa Lavender, the Vice President of Student Affairs for the college said, "Basically what it's come out to be is more or less an athletic village for our student-athletes."

Doctor Lavender said Gulf Coast cannot legally own student housing on campus so the homes are near the Gulf Coast softball field.

She also says having all the athletes together has worked out for the better.

"It's given us a really good unity for our teams and our athletics programs. It's also helped us with having some really strong, shall I say, supervision from our assistant coaches as well," said Lavender.

In addition to the assistant coaches, Lavender says some members of the men's and women's basketball teams and members of the baseball and softball teams live there as well, and they hope the homes bring in more athletes in the future.

"When we're recruiting players from anywhere, it doesn't matter if it's in Panama City or if it's from California, it's a great recruiting draw," said Lavender.

Officials say they aren't sure about extra housing in the future, but it's something they're looking into.

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