Hotel housing could return next year
After building Chancellors Hall and having one successful year with adequate on-campus housing space for students, there is a 50 percent chance that the university will need to house some students in local hotels during the fall semester.
“We have a lot more upperclass students wanting to stay with us,” said Chuck Major, director of housing and residence life. He said about 200 more upperclassmen than this year plan to live on campus next year.
Major said the combination of more upperclassmen and the number of freshmen applications for housing rising is what may lead to having to house students in local hotels.
Major estimates that 50 to 75 students may need to live in hotels. He said if he sees the same amount of contracts and cancellations as last year, there is a definite possibility that there will not be enough room on campus to house everyone who applies.
Major said he will be paying close attention to the number of applications and cancellations in the next couple months before making his final decision. He said he probably will have his decision made by July.
One problem with housing students in local hotels is the cost of living in the hotels is more than living in the dorms. Because the university charges students living in the hotels the same as they charge to live in the dorms, the university loses money.
UW-Eau Claire housed students in local hotels from the 1997-98 school year to the 1999-2000 school year.
Major said it usually costs about 15 percent more to house students in the hotels than in the dorms.
Major said in past years they have housed students in the Ramada and Holiday Inn, and he will contact those hotels again if the rooms are needed.
Major sent out an e-mail to residence hall students on April 25 to see if there was interest from students in living in the hotels. He said right now it is just a question of “what if.”
“I don’t want to cry wolf if it is not necessary,” said Major, adding that he had 99 responses to the e-mail from students in the first 48 hours after sending it.
Students living in hotels would get to campus by a bus that would circulate the area.
Senior Davin Mikkonen lived a hotel during the 1998-99 school year.
“I liked living there,” he said.
Mikkonen said he liked having his own bed, bathroom, air conditioning and access to a swimming pool. He said, however, it was sometimes a hassle getting places on the weekends.
Major said he doesn’t want to alarm students, and he wants to give students as many options as possible.
“We’ll have to see what happens in the next couple months,” he said.