University will house some students in local hotels this fall

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State University in southern Chesterfield County has about 5600 students. Nearly half of them live in university housing. Beginning fall 2011, some students may live in local hotels, because a 400-bed residence hall is going to be demolished and then re-built. That construction project will take two years to complete.

In years past, VSU housed some students in hotels in Petersburg and Prince George. But this year, university leaders are also eyeing hotels in Chester off of Route 10. Those hotels are less than 10 miles from the campus.

"When housing stock becomes available, we move students back on to campus as it becomes available," said Thomas Reed, spokesman for Virginia State University. "If we take several hundred students and put them in off-campus housing, that community, that locality is going to really benefit."

But Chesterfield County decision-makers said not all Chester hotels can suited for students. Chesterfield County Deputy Administrator Bill Dupler said some of the hotels are not equipped with that sprinkler system required for student housing. The county is working with VSU to find other options.

"We want to find what's the most convenient," said Reed. "What's the best opportunity. What's the most cost-effective."

With freshman students required to live in student housing, VSU is going to weigh every option before making a decision.

VSU is bracing for a 4th year of record freshman enrollment. But the campus won't know how many students it will house until June 1st when housing deposits are due.

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