The University of Missouri says it will rent residence hall rooms this fall to football weekend visitors on the Columbia campus as it seeks to recoup some of the $5 million it will cost to keep seven residence halls unoccupied.
The Columbia Tribune reports that the university is looking for ways to make use of student housing that will be vacant in 2017-18 because of a sharp decline in the number of incoming freshmen. About 4,000 incoming freshmen are expected to enroll in August, compared with 6,419 in fall 2015. The drop has led the university to close seven residence halls with 1,461 beds.
During a Board of Curators meeting Thursday, University Vice Chancellor for Operations Gary Ward says a website has been set up where people can reserve two-bedroom, four-bed suites for $120 a night. Parking is extra.
The university has other ideas for using the empty residence halls, including guest housing during conferences and the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.
Ward says he doesn’t expect area hotels to complain about competition.
“My understanding, and this would have to be verified with them, is the hotels are full anyway, so we won’t be competing on game days,” Ward says. “We could be competing with out-of-town hotels.”
Ward disclosed the plan for renting student housing as he updated the curators on the master plan for buildings on the Columbia campus. The university wants to consolidate space and determine whether it should demolish or renovate buildings where maintenance needs are greater than 40 percent of the replacement cost.