Local developer and former KC student plans private dorm just off campus

Photo by Charity Mezzell / THE FLARE Long time English instructor Bennie Brown and Anthony Saccoccio stand in front of the building at 906 Broadway that he plans to convert into a private dormitory.
Photo by Charity Mezzell / THE FLARE
Long time English instructor Bennie Brown and Anthony Saccoccio stand in front of the building at 906 Broadway that he plans to convert into a private dormitory.

For 25 years, the building that stands at 905 Broadway Blvd., across from the Back Porch, served as a women’s crisis shelter. At the beginning of the Fall Semester, it will be a redesigned, remodeled, privately owned dormitory for international and nursing students.
Anthony Saccoccio, a senior partner with S.E.D. Development and a KC student from 1996 to 2000, took on the project nearly a year ago with the acquisition of the property.
When he first presented his idea to Chris Gore with new student relations, he sensed Gore’s skepticism about the project. A couple of weeks after their first meeting, Saccoccio contacted Gore again about his plans for the dorm, showing his persistence. After presenting Gore with drawings of the prospected building weeks after that, Saccoccio had his full attention.
According to Saccoccio, when the college realized he was serious about the residence, he was given their full cooperation.
“A lot of colleges view private housing as competition,” Saccoccio said, “but I don’t think that’s the case here. We both strive to offer the best scenario to meet the students’ needs and our combined efforts will provide more diversified options.”
While still a student at KC, Saccoccio met “the most beautiful, vivacious woman,” of his life. “And that was Mrs. Bennie Brown,” he said. “That’s why I’m naming this building after her. This will be ‘Bennie Hall.’”
In preparation for building the residence, Saccoccio began meeting with college students from across the East Texas area to get a feel for what they wanted in a dorm.
“I was surprised that of all the things they said they wanted, they wanted refrigerators in their rooms and microwaves,” Saccoccio said. “And they wanted vending machines, so I redrew the floor plans for vending machines.”
Additionally, he spent a number of days at a convention in Las Vegas that focused on student housing.
The building, when completed, is estimated to have accommodations for 57 full-time residents. Saccoccio’s plan, because the dorm will be available to both male and female students, is to have the residence laid out into four, key-card-only accessible zones.
Security, Saccoccio said, is a major factor for this project. On security alone, he is spending around $100,000.
Residents will require a key-card to access the front door, the common rooms, and their respective living zones. Residents will require a key-card to access the front door and the common areas, with separately coded access to their respective living zones. Because it will be co-ed, women’s cards will not allow for entrance to male zones and vice versa.
A male and female residence adviser will be on duty at all times as well, who will work on labor-exchange, meaning rooms will be free for them.
Common areas will be accessible to all residents, which will include two full kitchens, multiple “little study rooms tucked away,” a living room with two flat-screen T.V.s, and a video game room.
The dorm will also feature both garage, and lot parking for residents, on-site card/cash operated laundry, Wi-Fi and a community coin-operated printer.
Saccoccio’s plans are primarily focused on affordability and community.
Having traveled as much as he has, as he worked overseas for 10 years before returning to the States, Saccoccio wants the residence to embody a type of “hostel” environment, much like what a traveler would experience while back-backing across Europe for a price that is obtainable for anyone.
When the dorm opens, the starting boarding price will be approximately $1000 per semester.
“It figures out to be about $250 a month, all bills paid.” Saccoccio said.
With the kitchens, microwave and refrigerator access, Bennie Hall residents will also not be required to pay for a meal plan, thus cutting the cost of living “on-campus” even more.
Saccoccio said is not about making money in the least. He has already made the decision that all the common room furniture will be made in Texas.
“That’s big to me,” he said. “I could save a couple bucks [going with something foreign made], but I don’t want to.”
His main objective is to create a place to rest for busy nursing students, and a welcoming living environment for students who are new to the country.
To help ease the transition, starting in May, prospective residents of Bennie Hall will be able to access an online-dating style roommate matching service, where they can find a roommate best suited for them. The benefit to this is that residence will not have to live with a complete stranger, and their living styles will be similar, hopefully opening the door for automatic friendships.
“Those are the stories that I’m after – the friendships made,” Saccoccio said.