Two Duluth colleges house students in motel
An influx of new students has caused the University of Minnesota Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica to use a motel for housing this year. UMD has 122 students at the Best Western Edgewater, and St. Scholastica has more than 30 there. UMD u...
An influx of new students has caused the University of Minnesota Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica to use a motel for housing this year.
UMD has 122 students at the Best Western Edgewater, and St. Scholastica has more than 30 there. UMD used the motel last in 2004, and St. Scholastica did in 2008, when it had its largest freshman class ever.
UMD's freshman class this year has 2,350 students, with
90 percent living on campus, plus 480 new transfer students. That, combined with fewer housing contract cancellations than expected, "put us at Edgewater," said John Weiske, director of housing at UMD.
Students from both schools share rooms with another student and have shuttle service to campus, with use of motel amenities. UMD students will stay through the semester so they have a more stable situation, said Jackie Millslagle, interim vice chancellor for academic support and student life. As students move off campus or leave school, housing opens up and students can return to campus.
Other than in 2008, St. Scholastica hadn't used motel housing since the '90s, before more on-campus housing was built. Its freshman class this year is one less than in 2008, when the school had 571. The college hopes to add 250 beds next year in the form of two banks of suites, said Eric Berg, vice president of enrollment management.
"The new housing is going to alleviate the need to have students down there," he said.
Students who end up at the Edgewater were the last people to apply or put down housing deposits. UMD freshman Bianca Neal of Minneapolis was one of them. She was fine with the housing situation, she said, adding, "I understand that a lot of us are coming."
A Facebook page had been created by and for students who live at Edgewater, she said, and no one seemed worried about staying connected to campus. She was happy to share a bathroom with just one person.
"You hear all the crazy stories about the shared bathrooms in dorms," she said.
UMD has worked hard to make sure the students at the Edgewater feel included, said Jeni Eltink, director of the first-year experience program.
She said Edgewater freshmen were put in groups that include students who live on campus and at Edgewater during the mandatory Bulldog Welcome week, so they get to know a mix of students. At Edgewater there is a resident adviser and programming, just as in dorms, and students are encouraged to come to campus for events.
"We make sure they know they're equally as important as any other student," Eltink said.
Weiske said UMD has used off-campus housing sporadically throughout its history. In 1978, he said, nearly 500 students were housed at Greysolon Plaza, then Hotel Duluth.