|By William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune,
IdahoMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 24, 2012--PULLMAN -- Construction of a Marriott Residence Inn is expected to begin on the north side of the Washington State University campus this fall.
In a presentation to the WSU Board of Regents Thursday, university officials said Stonebridge Companies has its financing in place and recently received approval from Marriott Hotels to proceed with the 131-room facility. The company expects to break ground in October; construction could be completed in time for the 2013 football season, or the spring of 2014 at the latest.
Stonebridge signed a 99-year lease earlier this year on a 4.23-acre parcel located on North Fairway Drive. It's also leasing an adjacent 3.27-acre parcel. WSU owns both pieces and has been trying to develop them for several years; however, three previous lease agreements fell through.
The Residence Inn brand is geared towards extended-stay guests. Each suite will have a fully equipped kitchen, separate living room and high-speed Internet; the inn will have a pool and fitness center, as well as a 1,595-square-foot meeting room and smaller board room. Stonebridge is looking to build a shorter-stay hotel on the smaller parcel, possibly a Marriott Courtyard.
Nancy Swanger, the director of WSU's School of Hospitality and Business Management, said there should be a number of opportunities to collaborate with the hotel, both in the form of student internships and permanent placements and for hotel personnel to give presentations to classes.
"The fact that this is a Marriott hotel is huge," she said. "They've been one of the biggest recruiters of our students, so there should be a lot of win-win opportunities."
Also on Thursday, Director of Legal Affairs Sharyl Kammerzell discussed two recent reports regarding the child molestation case at Penn State and a case where Occupy movement protesters were pepper-sprayed at UC-Davis in California.
"These reports become a resource for higher education across the country," Kammerzell said. "They help us set a new standard of care. Whenever something like this comes out, we look at them to see how we can apply those lessons."
The Penn State report faulted university officials and former head football coach Joe Paterno for failing to notify police when a former coach was accused of molesting a child.
When the case first became public, Kammerzell said WSU President Elson Floyd immediately asked her to review all campus activities involving minors.
"I learned we have an enormous number of activities," she said. "We will provide a report with recommendations, hopefully in the next month or so."
Washington lawmakers also passed legislation requiring any state employee to notify police if they're aware of any potential child abuse.
Kammerzell said she'll also be meeting with various university departments to discuss other steps WSU should take to avoid similar situations here. For example, it might want to clarify its free-speech policies, since that was an issue in the UC-Davis case.
Any policy changes would have to be approved by the board of regents, she said.
The board continues its meeting today at 9 a.m. in the Compton Union Building, Room 204.
Spence may be contacted at
email@example.com or (208) 791-9168.
(c)2012 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)
Visit the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho) at www.lmtribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services