Diné College Opens Family Housing Complex

Sep 23rd, 2015 | By | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive

DINE COLLEGE FAMILY HOUSINGDiné College is getting a facelift thanks to several grants that have funded an array of capital improvement projects. One such project is the construction of a new family housing complex at the main campus in Tsaile.

The college celebrated the grand opening of the family housing complex, along with the renovation of the Student Union Building, last week. The new construction was all made possible by Title 3 funding. The event featured Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, luncheon, and tours of the new facilities. During the ceremony Maggie George, president of Diné College, explained that the process to complete these new projects was a team effort, and an effort that took five years to come to fruition.


Navajo Nation vice president—and Diné College alumnus—Jonathan Nez (center) presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony and congratulated college president Maggie George (second from right) and the entire college community on their achievement.

The family housing complex consists of 32 brand new independent units at a cost of nearly $13 million. All units have two or three bedrooms and are specifically designed for students with families. Claude Sandoval, facilities manager, noted that all units are fully furnished and equipped with all the latest conveniences: “Each apartment is outfitted with a full-service kitchen, a bathroom, a washer and dryer, a microwave, a stove, a refrigerator and each unit has wireless internet access.”


Each unit is fully furnished, allowing families to move to the college easily and live comfortably on campus.

The family housing complex was designed with Navajo culture in mind, explains Sandoval: “The overall design concept was drawn up by our Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Cameron Daines,” he says. “Daines then provided that design to the college administration who then decided to move forward with it.” The compound is a gated community that requires a pass code for entry as a safety and security precaution.


The family housing complex features a common hogan-shaped building at its center, where families can gather for events, to study, or to socialize.

Sandoval notes that the design of the complex bears a strong connection to Navajo culture and philosophy. “The housing compound was designed in a circular shape to depict a traditional Navajo hogan. It is divided up into quadrants representing the four cardinal directions with the south in a blue mountain design, the west in a yellow mountain design and the north in a black mountain design,” Sandoval clarifies. “The units are rectangular-shaped homes with front entrances facing east.”


Units are aligned with the four sacred mountains. Those to the south of the complex are marked with a blue mountain, to represent Tsoodzil, or Mount Taylor.

Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez, a former student at Diné College, provided the keynote address and congratulated the college on the completion of their projects. “On behalf of the Office of the President and Vice President, on behalf of [President] Russell Begaye, we congratulate you on the milestone for the college,” Nez stated. He thanked the staff, the leadership, administration, Diné College President George, and the board of regents for their continuous support and advocacy for higher education.

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