Samford University reacts after COVID isolation cottages shot down in Homewood

Samford's plan for quarantine

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Samford University is proposing a unique way to quarantine students who are exposed to COVID-19 during the academic year, but the project's original version did not pass when up for a vote by the Homewood City Planning Commission.

Samford University has already ordered and paid for 15 modular homes, but as of right now, they're figuring out where they'll put them.

The plan for what they dubbed Lakeshore Village was a serpentine of cottage-style one-bedroom houses between the athletic track and the greenway trail.

“I held them at the factory, there are six sitting on the back of trucks on their way to Alabama right now,” said Colin Coyne Samford University’s Chief Strategy Officer.

The vote to approve their placement tied 4-4, and while it will be revisited, classes start in just two weeks.

Samford officials must find space behind their gates after concerns about the aesthetics of modular units.

“This was Samford quality,” said Coyne.

The 15 cottage-style units cost just under $2 million in total and feature flat screen TVs that students can stream lectures on while awaiting test results. The dorms have shared spaces that could potentially expose other students if students are not isolated quickly. “You don’t know the size or duration of the COVID problem,” Coyne said of the investment.

If students test positive for COVID-19, they would then be given a private dorm room to quarantine. Samford intends to keep the modular units for at least a decade to use for other special housing needs.

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