TWU contracts for overflow housing at local hotel

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Some Texas Woman’s University students will have to live at the Holiday Inn between Dallas Drive and Interstate 35E at the start of the fall semester.

This marks the second time in three years that overflow housing at a hotel has been used, and the third year in a row university officials have looked at hotel options for students.

This fall, 114 students who are registered for housing on campus may wind up at the hotel, Monica Mendez-Grant, interim vice president for student life at TWU, told the Board of Regents in a meeting Thursday.

She also said that another 50 students were overbooked but were accommodated on campus in triple rooms, or by sharing a room with a resident assistant, who is supposed to have a private room.

“Even though enrollment is flat, our retention is way up,” Mendez-Grant said after the meeting.

The students who do wind up at the hotel will have a shuttle service running between the hotel and campus from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will be in double rooms — two beds and two students per room.

They will still be charged the regular double-room rate, she said.

Last time TWU had to house students at a hotel, only about half of the students notified about their temporary housing assignment wound up moving into the hotels temporarily, said Joe Berthiaume, director of housing.

Only about 40 of 90 students stayed at the hotel, with the others opting to commute or get off-campus apartments.

Those 40 only stayed at the hotel for about five weeks, he estimated, as people moved off campus for various reasons.

Students will be placed in on-campus housing as rooms become available, Mendez-Grant said.

First-time students have priority and will be placed on campus in the order in which they applied to the university this spring.

The students who are in overflow housing but still on campus will see a financial benefit for their situation, Berthiaume said. They will be credited for the time spent in a triple room, which averages about $400 to $500 for the semester.

“When we moved people last year and relocated them to doubles, we had probably a dozen students that told us [they were] happy to stay in the triple,” he said.

This wasn’t a curveball for the housing office though, as Mendez-Grant and others realized there would be some overflow issues as early as spring. The decision to contract with Holiday Inn didn’t come until August, when enrollment and housing numbers were more solid.

While it has caused some additional work, the overflow is a good problem to have, Mendez-Grant said.

“I think it’s a testament to the relevancy of the mission of TWU, and that students maintain their interest in the university,” Mendez-Grant said. “I also think it’s an indicator of the quality of service that students receive in university housing.”


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