Ellsworth Community College Provost Dr. Martin Reimer blames the continued decline in enrollment at least partially on subpar student housing. After a 5.57 percent enrollment decline from 2017 to 2018, the school lost another 7.25 percent in the last year. ECC now has 754 students, down from 861 just two years ago. “Talking to students who have left or students that have chosen not to come here, the number one reason seems to be our housing facilities,” Reimer said. “Safety, security, comfort, those are our high priorities.” A $32 million bond referendum for the Iowa Valley Community College District – which includes ECC, Marshalltown Community College and Iowa Valley Community College in Grinnell – failed by a mere 62 votes last April. The District will try again with a similar measure on the ballot this November. More than $17 million would be filtered to ECC if the measure passes. Part of that money is slated to renovate the current dormitories and construct another building that could house 40 to 50 students. Director of Admissions Adriane Sietsema said campus tours for potential students are overseen by her department, but student ambassadors conduct the actual tours for those students and their parents. “I always say, ‘Never show Thompson Hall (dormitory),'” she said. “A part of me feels like we’re not showing our whole campus, but it doesn’t sell well. When we show our students and parents Thompson, they’re more than likely not going to come.” Reimer said the drop in enrollment is also due to larger than usual turnover among the male population, especially athletes. ECC’s male enrollment dropped more than 15 percent from 410 students to 346. 10/8/2019 ECC provost links enrollment decline, bond referendum. “We had turnover in our baseball and football coaching late in the year,” he said. “That affected recruitment, so I’m thinking that this is a one-year dip and next year we should be back to levels we’ve had in the past.” The female student population stayed steady, dropping from 408 to 403. Reimer said the administration expected a 5 percent drop District wide, but strong numbers in Marshalltown helped the District lose just 1.59 percent of overall enrollment. MCC gained 15 students this year, bringing its total to 1,963. Reimer said that while enrollment is down he’s impressed with the students that are here, especially the young men who were displaced from Thompson Hall after a fire caused severe smoke damage earlier this fall. “I think the quality of the students is what I hear about a lot this semester,” he said. “They just seem to be a very good group of students. They show up to class, they’re polite. The Thompson Hall residents are very grateful to the community for its support. We’re very happy with the quality of our students this year.”