TAMUSA students live in hotel rooms amid housing overflow

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SAN ANTONIO – Nearly 100 Texas A&M San Antonio students have called a hotel room their home this semester due to a campus dormitory shortage. Their bags must be packed and taken out before departure on Saturday morning.

TAMUSA student Lily Reimherr Buckert first told the story in an article published in the student newspaper, The Mesquite.

“It was a bit personal, honestly, because I live in the dorms,” said Reimherr Buckert. “I was wondering what my options would be for next year.”

Students living at the hotel do not have a meal plan, but like other hotel guests, their stay includes free breakfast and cleaning services.

“We of course appreciated the free breakfast, but everything else was the same (compared to the dorms),” said Bernice Correa. Correa is a junior at TAMUSA and lives in one of the two hotels on the south side of town.

Lack of planning and space leads to 120 students living in hotels.

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“We stopped taking reservations at the end of the summer, but we already had around 150 students who wanted to move in,” said Don Albrecht. Albrecht is the Special Assistant and Chief of Staff for Student Success and Engagement.

Currently, that number has increased to 97.

Hotel living for students is $ 1,500 cheaper per semester than living in Esperanza Hall, the university’s only dormitory that houses around 375 students.

Each student shares their small room with an assigned roommate. Similar to dorms, each hotel has a Designated Resident Advisor or RA.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Michelle Irving. Irving is classified as a junior. This is his first year at TAMUSA. “ARs are very (accessible). You can talk to them anytime and they give you contact details and whatever else you need. “

Other students like Janie Serna say it’s an unusual setup.

“Not having a meal plan, of course, and the commute (is difficult),” Serna said.

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The freshmen will be returning to the hotel for the spring semester and they hope the university fixes some issues.

“Just the shuttle, because, like, the times (of the shuttle) would change a lot,” Serna said. “So we sometimes missed (the shuttle) or just waited a long time.”

Both hotels are approximately a 15-minute drive from the campus.

“They leave (the campus) on time and leave hotels on the half hour,” Albrecht said.

For other students, living in a hotel affected their college experience.

“(I want) more space and more privacy,” Correa said. “Plus, I thought I connected more (with the students) when I was in the dorms. You know more about the events going on at school when you are in the dorms… (because) they posted it everywhere.

Unlike dorms, students will be required to vacate their hotel rooms on Saturdays, without exception.

“I guess it’s kind of like the lag,” Irving said. “It’s not a dorm (where) you can just leave your things, but I mean, it prepares you a bit (for the future).” When you live in an apartment, you have a lease and then you have to move out by a certain date.

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Irving is expected to return to the hotel on January 7. So far, TAMUSA predicts that 69 more students will be living in a hotel room during the spring semester.

According to university administrators, some Esperanza Hall students have chosen to add a fifth person to their dormitory in exchange for a reduced rate. The real solution, however, wouldn’t come for about a year and a half.

“The A&M system board meets in February and again in May,” said Albrecht. “We plan to present proposals and details at these meetings (for a new dorm room). The system is working with us to develop these plans and demands (for) the financial part of it. “

If approved, construction could begin by summer 2021. According to Albrecht, the goal is to “have this new facility open by fall 2023”.

The new dormitory would also house around 375 students.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.


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