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FARMINGTON — Navajo Technical University will receive $14.3 million from the Navajo Nation to build new student housing at its campus in Crownpoint.

Tribal President Russell Begaye approved a Navajo Nation Council resolution Tuesday to provide the amount from the Síhasin Fund and to establish the Crownpoint Student Housing Expenditure Plan.

The Síhasin Fund was established from a $554 million settlement between the tribe and the federal government in 2014 for mismanagement of trust assets and for violating trust responsibilities.

"This allocation is for the students who drive long distances or ride buses or hitchhike or sleep in their cars. Providing housing for students yields more than just a place to stay; it gives them access to the Internet, the library, tutoring services and professors. On-campus housing gives students the community they need to succeed," Begaye said in a press release from his office.

In addition to the tribe's allocation, Navajo Housing Authority has committed $9.3 million and NTU will provide $4 million.

NTU President Elmer Guy said in a telephone interview Friday the new building will help the university address the shortage of on-campus housing for students.

The university has two dormitories and 31 family housing units, but each facility has 100 percent occupancy, Guy said, adding some students are turned away because there is not enough housing.

The new three-story building will be 95,388 square feet and house 18 rooms for single occupancy and 126 rooms for double occupancy.

It will be situated on the northeast side of campus and is part of the master plan for the university, Guy said.

"For Navajo, I think it's an excellent investment," he said adding that living on campus serves as a transitional period for students.

"It's a good way to bring them on campus and become more responsible," Guy said.

Delegate Jonathan Hale co-sponsored the legislation and presented to the tribal council on April 18, where it passed by a unanimous vote of 19 in favor.

Hale said in a telephone interview Thursday he appreciated the president signing the resolution.

"I always thought NTU could exceed beyond what they could do," Hale said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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