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Overflow of Seton Hill students to room at hotel

| Sunday, June 17, 2012, 9:52 p.m.

Welcome to the dorm at Courtyard by Marriott.

Seton Hill University officials will house nearly 50 students -- all upperclassmen -- this fall and possibly into the spring at the new hotel near the Greengate Plaza on Route 30 in Hempfield.

"Seton Hill is experiencing an overflow in on-campus housing because a record number of freshman have accepted admission to Seton Hill and because returning upperclassmen are deciding they would like to live on campus," said Molly Robb Shimko, university spokeswoman.

In all, 49 students will be living in the hotel, which was opened last summer. They include 48 students who will be housed in 24 rooms, each with two queen-sized beds. A resident assistant, who supervises the other students, will be living alone in the 25th room the university is renting for an undisclosed cost.

The hotel has 95 rooms and seven suites on four floors, according to a company Web site.

"The arrangement Seton Hill has with the Marriott extends through the fall 2008 semester with the possibility we would continue in the spring," Shimko said in an e-mail.

She said about 2,200 students are enrolled for the fall as undergraduate or graduate students, or in adult-degree programs. The number of incoming freshmen is projected at 370.

Shimko said the selection of the 49 hotel students was based on their grade-point averages and good disciplinary records. She said no freshmen will be housed at the hotel.

"Because freshman students are new to Seton Hill and new to college life in general, the university finds it important to house these students on campus," Shimko said.

The university is further equipping the hotel rooms.

"In addition to the furnishings provided in each room, Seton Hill is adding an additional wardrobe and two dressers to accommodate storage needs for students," Shimko said. "The Marriott is providing appropriate security, study areas and television/lounge space along with some transportation to and from the university, which Seton Hill will augment as needed."

Dawn Roberts, hotel general manager, said the students will be housed together on sections of two floors.

She said lodging students at a hotel isn't unusual. Pittsburgh Technical Institute students were housed at her previous hotel assignment in Pittsburgh, Roberts said.

She explained the students will sign a contract concerning behavior and will face expulsion if they violate that agreement.

Among the requirements are no alcohol in rooms, also an on-campus condition. The rooms are smoke-free, although an area is set up at the hotel for smokers, Roberts said.

She said hotel shuttles will run to and from the Greensburg campus at least four times daily.

Roberts said the students will have the same amenities given to guests, including access to the pool and fitness center. The rooms have high-speed Internet connections as well as refrigerators and microwaves.

The university has made arrangements until the end of this year. The number of students possibly needing lodging is expected to be less in the spring.

Students will be moving into the Marriott between Aug. 22 and 24, university officials said.

Since 2004, Seton Hill has built two residence halls to try to meet enrollment demands. Another dormitory is proposed.

Seton Hill isn't alone in growth.

Spokeswoman Wendy Mackall said the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg has a waiting list of about 40 students who want to live on campus but probably will have to find lodging in the community. She said the university has been trying to secure housing for the students off campus, but a final agreement hasn't been reached.

The Hempfield campus had 1,752 students registered for the fall semester as of this week, including 1,622 full-time and 130 part-time students.

The number of students registered for the fall is 65 more than in fall 2007, when there also were about 40 on a waiting list, Mackall said.

The campus has 12 dorms that can accommodate 630 students.

Classes start Aug. 25. Students can begin moving in Aug. 21.

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