A first: Edison State College students move into dorm rooms

Scott McIntyre/Staff
Jackie Morrill, right, followed by her father Jeff Morrill, and mother Beth Morill carry her belongings into Edison State College's first dorm, Lighthouse Commons on Monday, August 20, 2012. The 405 bedroom dorm has reached more than 80 percent capacity with 325 students registered to date.

Photo by SCOTT MCINTYRE // Buy this photo

Scott McIntyre/Staff Jackie Morrill, right, followed by her father Jeff Morrill, and mother Beth Morill carry her belongings into Edison State College's first dorm, Lighthouse Commons on Monday, August 20, 2012. The 405 bedroom dorm has reached more than 80 percent capacity with 325 students registered to date.

Video from NBC-2

On the morning of the first day students could move into Edison State College's first dormitory, Austin McCann looked around his new home on the fourth-floor.

"I like it," the Island Coast High School graduate said. "I got the courtyard view."

Four stories down, the courtyard hummed Monday morning with activity. Students and their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles streamed through the courtyard and into LightHouse Commons, the residence hall on the Lee County campus.

They lugged and toted and pulled suitcases and boxes filled with the clothes and whatever else students need. They came from near and far. From Naples, Fort Myers and Boca Raton and Connecticut.

Edison State College turns 50 this year and Monday was the first time in that half a century history students had the option of residing on campus. About 80 percent of the 405 units are filled. Classes begin Thursday.

Students already started figuring out Monday morning how to make the place, which still has that new building faint trace of paint scent to it, feel like home.

"I'm so excited," said Heather Braun of Lehigh Acres. "I'm ready to decorate. It's going to be all Spider-Man."

LightHouse Commons provides nearly everything except spider webs and super heroes leaping from building to building or leaping them in a single bound. The 164,000 square foot facility includes conference rooms, computer lab, fitness center, study room on each floor and out front a sand volleyball court and a basketball court await the athletically minded.

Students can reside in rooms with either four or two bedrooms. All come with their own bathrooms, which impressed parents and grandparents on Monday. Frank Landers of Boca Raton helped his son, Jordan, move into the place and flashed back to his dorm at Purdue many years ago.

"Had to go down the hall to the bathroom," the elder Landers said.

Not at LightHouse Commons.

Any Teprovich, Edison's director of student life, helped coordinate the move-in with students, staff and family but still had time to remember her dorm at Canisius College in Buffalo.

"I had to share a bathroom with 40 girls," Teprovich said.

Not at LightHouse.

Not far away from where the Landers family situated Jordan, Zachery Romansky got squared away with the help of his father, Steven, a Fort Myers resident.

Suitcases and boxes and bags cluttered the doorway.

"Let's make a path here for us," Steven told his son.

Zachary attended Cypress Lake High School, which is only a little more than a mile from Edison, before moving away his senior year to Connecticut, where he graduated from Griswold High School.

Now, he's back in Fort Myers and in a spiffy new dorm.

"I'll have a lot more fun," Zachery said.

His father looked on the practical side of residing on campus.

"He doesn't even need a car," Steve Romansky said.

Classrooms are a short walk away. Publix, Subway, Il Primo Pizza and a Starbucks are all within walking distance of campus.

He also likes the idea of his son living on his own.

"This is perfect for a young man starting out," Steven Romansky said.

Bobby Muro, who also is from Connecticut, likes the feel of the campus and school and being in the first group of students to reside on campus.

"It's like a great new book," Muro said.

He also likes his dorm room. There's a kitchen and sitting area and a bed.

"You can't ask for anything more," Muro said.

One of his helpers on Monday was his aunt, Sarah Malinosky, a part-time Marco Island resident.

"We were joking that the dorm is nicer than our place," Malinosky said.That theme repeated itself often on Monday. Amy Dietz of Boca Raton helped her son, Jared, move in to LightHouse Commons.

"I feel really good he's in such a nice place," Dietz said.

Alia Barrett, a Golden Gate High School graduate, moved in with the help of her mom and an aunt. When the three women left the air-conditioned lobby to retrieve more stuff from the car, Alia marveled at her dorm room.

"It's like an apartment," Barrett said.

By going to college in Fort Myers she's away from home but still within easy visiting range for her mom.

"She won't cry," Barrett said.

Lorna Barrett, her mom, likes the idea of her daughter living on campus and not being a commuter.

"I want her to better herself and gain independence," Lorna Barrett said. "At home, they expect mom to do everything."

Moms won't be in the 405 units at LightHouse Commons to clean up or cook. Nor will Spider-Man. But just about everything else will be available.

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