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College of Idaho to build dorms made from shipping containers

The college is looking for a quick and affordable way to provide housing for its students.
Credit: Courtesy photo
A rendering of what the new dorms at the College of Idaho will look like when complete.

CALDWELL, Idaho — With a record number of new students on campus this fall, housing is tight at the College of Idaho.

To help alleviate the housing crunch, the school is teaming with an innovative Caldwell company, indieDwell.

The plan is to build new dorms out of decommissioned shipping containers.

"The College's primary goal is to find ways to enhance the student experience," said Richard Erne, Vice President for Finance and Administration. "This residential housing solution provides an exceptional living space for our students and is consistent with the College's desire to support sustainability of the environment. Combining these factors with the overall economics, the new housing project fits perfectly into our residential housing program."

The cost per bed of an indieDwell complex is roughly half the cost of a large-scale conventional dorm construction and can be completed in less than half the time.

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The new dorms will consist of two primary three-story structures that will house 27 students each, 54 students total.

At least one of the structures should be available by the start of the spring semester in February.

Pricing, criteria for student selection and other details will become available as the project nears completion.

Design Project Manager Chad Hart says there may be a perception that modular construction appears like "ugly-looking boxes," but that's not what people will see when the dorm project is complete.

"It's not going to look like a container on the outside," Hart said, "it's going to blend in with the surrounding construction. When this is done, it's going to mix in rooflines, sidings, colors, and everything your modern construction has today."

The College of Idaho's dormitory project is the first time the units will be used for large-scale student housing.

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