Former packinghouse site to become housing for Beacon College students


Land of the former A.S. Herlong & Co. citrus packinghouse on Third Street in Leesburg is being cleared to become a residential hall for Beacon College students, says college officials.

The college purchased the late 1920s building in 2013 with initial hopes that the structure could be upgraded or remodeled.

“While it was unfortunate that engineers determined safety concerns prevented us from repurposing the A.S. Herlong & Co. building as the college has other Leesburg buildings with historical significance, we are giving a nod to its history by incorporating architectural flourishes reminiscent of the plant that played an important role in regional history,” says Darryl Owens, director of communications for Beacon College.

He says construction of the first dorm will be three stories and composed of 23,306 square feet. It will house 74 students in single rooms within 5-bedroom suites.

Evergreen Construction will be the contractor for the project. The first dorm is expected to be completed in January; no date has been set for the second dorm.

Students currently reside in apartments buildings scattered around the downtown area.

As a private nonprofit higher education institution in downtown Leesburg, Beacon College is noted as the first accredited college to award bachelor’s degrees exclusively to students with dyslexia, ADHD, or other specific learning differences.

The college has been growing steadily since it began more than 20 years ago.

“We are expecting between 340 and 360 students,” Owens says of projected fall enrollment, and Beacon College projects the growth to continue over the next few years. “Our plan is to grow between 450 to 500 students.”