Texas Woman’s University signed an agreement with Quality Inn and Suites last week to reserve up to 100 rooms for an overflow of students in need of on-campus housing.
Quality Inn and Suites, located on Dallas Drive, submitted one of seven bids considered.
TWU chose the hotel because it could accommodate all of the university’s needs in one place, said Richard Nicholas, vice president for student life.
Nicholas expects TWU to need fewer than 100 rooms.
At this point, more than 2,000 students plan to live in on-campus housing, but that number is changing every day, Nicholas said.
“We would assume the number would decrease as the semester goes on,” he said.
Some students have been assigned to the hotel, and it also will be used for latecomers, he added.
Quality Inn and Suites will offer free breakfast to students daily as well as transportation to and from campus.
The university doesn’t expect to need the hotel in the spring.
TWU is anticipating a 1.5 percent increase in fall enrollment above last year’s numbers, which Nicholas said is a conservative projection. Last year, enrollment increased 4 percent over 2010.
“It’s a little tougher year to predict enrollment,” Nicholas said, citing the economy and a change in the federal processing of financial aid awards, many of which are coming in late.
To handle the increased need for on-campus housing last year, TWU leased three apartments from Scott Brown Properties. TWU is continuing to lease Bent Tree Apartments at 1000 N. Bell Ave., Lone Star Apartments at 600 Texas St. and Austin Place Apartments at 1005 N. Austin St.
The hotel is expected to be a temporary fix for the fall semester.
At this point, most of the students who need on-campus housing are freshmen and sophomores.
TWU has done what it can with existing housing by tripling up in certain rooms and putting students with resident assistants. It also put students in its Lowry Woods Community apartments on campus.
Upperclassmen who seek on-campus housing are being put in the apartments leased by TWU as well as the Lowry Woods apartments.
Even the waiting list for on-campus housing is full, Nicholas said.
TWU’s more permanent solution to the problem will be to build a new residence hall.
TWU officials have decided Jones Hall, one of the older residence halls, cannot be renovated, so the university is considering tearing the existing building down and replacing it.
The university has been acquiring property on the southeast and west borders of its Denton campus, with plans for later expansion into both areas, but university officials don’t know what exactly the land will be used for at this point, Nicholas said.
It is consulting with a design team to see what its options will be on where to build.
After it comes up with a design, TWU must obtain approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Nicholas said he is unsure how long it will take to build the new hall but TWU plans to put it on the “fast track.”
Nicholas plans to have more information to share at the TWU regents’ regular meeting in November.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .