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500 Rutgers Students To Live for a Semester in 250-rooms
 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey

By Zoe Tillman, The Philadelphia InquirerMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

August 10, 2009 - About 500 students enrolled in the fall at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., will find themselves living in a hotel four miles from campus.

Rutgers will place the students in rooms at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Somerset because of a lack of on-campus housing. The school had the same problem last year and housed several hundred students temporarily until on-campus housing was secured.

This year, the hotel housing assignments are permanent, meaning students will move in on Aug. 28 and stay for the academic year. Classes begin Sept. 1.

This year's record enrollment of 36,041 is the reason for the housing crunch, Rutgers spokeswoman Sandy Lanman said.

"More students are staying in school and we think the economy has something to do with that," Lanman said.

She added that, unlike last year, students in on-campus dorms will not triple-up in double rooms or use common lounge areas as dorm space.

In April, the university board of governors approved funding to build two dormitories to accommodate the greater demand. The buildings are expected to be completed by the fall 2011 semester, with room for about 2,000 students.

In the meantime, nearly 500 students are expected to occupy about 250 rooms this year at the Crowne Plaza.

There were no complaints from guests about the students who lived there last year, said Dan Williams, the hotel's general manager.

"It was smooth for both the students and the hotel," he said. The students have a separate entrance and are in a section of the hotel that is isolated from the rest of the building.

A free shuttle leaving every 20 minutes will take students to and from campus between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. Lanman said the university was absorbing the cost of the buses but did not know how much it was.

Like the on-campus dorms, each hotel hall will have a resident assistant and on-site staff adviser to handle students' needs.

Hotel housekeeping staff will clean the rooms once a week unless students request otherwise, Williams said. All the rooms are equipped with cable television and Internet access, and students will be able to use the hotel pools and gym.

Contact staff writer Zoe Tillman at 215-854-2917 or ztillman@phillynews.com.

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Copyright (c) 2009, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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