VSU needs temporary housing for 700 students

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Prince George County is scrambling to help Virginia State University with temporary student housing.

Some 700 students will need a place to stay in just a few weeks. Students start arriving August 13.

VSU wants to use three hotels in Prince George. The county and VSU are now in talks to accommodate, but they are under the gun.

Prince George County leaders only found out about the VSU housing plan three weeks ago.

The earliest the Board of Supervisors can take up the matter is August 16.

"Now we're having to gather and put so much information together in a short amount period of time I don't know what the results will be," said Prince George County Administrator, Percy Ashcraft.

In May, construction began on new student housing.

"We took about 400 beds offline and we're going to build about 500 beds here," said VSU's Tom Reed.

But it won't be complete until next fall.

VSU welcomes incoming freshmen August 13 and returning students the week after. Some returning students would have to be relocated off-campus.

The three hotels VSU is looking at are the Howard Johnson, Quality Inn and Days Inn on Crater road. All must apply for a special exception permit to meet zoning requirements.

Students could stay for 30 days but on day 31, the hotels would be in code violation if students are still living there.

Also none have sprinkler systems, a requirement if buildings are used for extended stays.

"They will be there 9 or 10 months possibly so we have to make sure that all those codes are in compliance," said Ashcraft.

The Prince George County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on August 16th where business leaders can chime in on the issue.

A vote on the matter could happen the same night.

Prince George County leaders and VSU administrators will meet again next Tuesday to hash out a plan.

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