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Peabody hotel to house 60 Salem State students

Faced with more demand for dormitory beds than it can meet, Salem State University will rent a floor at a Marriott hotel in Peabody to house 60 students for the fall semester.

Salem State houses approximately 2,000 students in five residence halls. A sixth dormitory, Viking Hall, is under construction and will add 350 beds when it opens in the fall of 2015.

In a typical year, 15 percent of the students who are offered housing turn it down, or opt to move off campus. But this year, only 5 percent declined the offer to live on campus, the university said.

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“We had a lot more students request housing,” said Neil Andrito, the university’s director of residence life.

The overflow sent university officials on a last-minute scramble to find rooms before students arrive on campus this weekend, Andrito said.

The university contacted several area hotels, including two in Salem, Andrito said. But Salem hotels already had rooms rented for October, when thousands of tourists visit the city for its monthlong Halloween celebration.

The Marriott is in Centennial Park, about 6 miles from campus. The hotel agreed to rent an entire floor of 32 rooms to the university. “They were willing and eager to work with us on this,” Andrito said. “We also felt that it was the safest, most secure location available to us.”

According to Salem State officials, the typical dorm cost per student per semester is $4,225. At press time, the university could not supply the amount it is paying the Marriott.

Paul McNeil, general manager of the Marriott, could not be reached for comment.

Salem State will provide a shuttle service between the hotel and central campus. Juniors, seniors, and transfer students have been assigned to the Marriott.

“We didn’t want to put our traditional first-year students there,” Andrito said. “We felt this would be better for our older students, who already have some college experience.”

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Two students will be assigned to each room, which will have cable television and free WiFi. Maid service will be provided once a week, primarily to clean bathrooms, Andrito said.

Rooms will have some furniture provided by Salem State. “We’re going to make sure each student has their own desk, dresser, and bed,” he said.

A conference room on the floor will be turned into a student lounge and study space. Students will also have access to the hotel’s 24-hour front desk, indoor swimming pool, and fitness center. But room service will be on their own dime.

“The school is not picking up their room service bill at the end of the semester,” Andrito said with a laugh.

The student meal plan will only be accepted at university dining services. But the university still hopes to provide additional food service at the hotel, Andrito said.

“We’re still working on that,” Andrito said last week.

The hotel housing is expected to last only for the fall semester.

“Typically we lose some students out of housing after the first semester,” Andrito said. “We anticipate getting all these students on campus for the spring.”

Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine,mccabe@globe.
com
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