More Students Housed at Chattanooga Choo Choo

By the Loop Staff

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — The head of student housing for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga says the campus will be filled to overflowing.

Steven Hood, Vice-Chancellor for Student Housing, said in an email sent campus wide that his staff originally anticipated that 100 students would be housed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo because the dorms would be full. Now Hood estimates that number will be nearly double with half of the students staying at the Choo Choo for entire fall semester.

Here is the email:

Good Afternoon UTC Faculty and Staff,
As we quickly approach the beginning of fall semester, it seems appropriate to share with you all the status of campus housing.  Just as we have experienced for the last few years, the demand for on-campus housing is exceeding supply, which is leading us to utilize the Chattanooga Choo Choo for overflow housing.
We have known for a while that we would need to use a hotel and we were hoping to keep the number of students assigned to the hotel to around 100.  We know from historical records that 100 students in the hotel will be a temporary situation, which is why we were targeting this number.  We have tried a number of strategies to keep the number at 100, including requiring approximately 120 returning students that were on the waitlist to secure off campus housing and offering incentives for Chattanooga area residents to defer their on campus experience to Spring 2012.  While these efforts and others have helped us deal with the high demand, we will not be able to hit the target of 100 students in the hotel, so instead we are now expecting to have 190 students in the hotel (this is the maximum number that the hotel can accommodate).  As we move to 190 students in the hotel, it is important to understand that approximately 1/2 of these students will remain in the hotel all of the fall semester.

As the growth to 190 students in the hotel became an obvious need, we have enhanced our hotel staffing to maximize the support for these students. The hotel residents will be supported with a staffing structure that is similar to others on campus housing with 1 Graduate Assistant serving as a Resident Director and 3 Resident Assistants.  The GA and RA’s will live on site at the hotel to provide 24 hour support.  In addition, we will also have 1 professional staff member dedicated to work 1/2 time in an office that we will operate out of one of the hotel rooms.  While each of these staff members will have different roles, their unified goal is to provide the best possible experience to all hotel residents.  In addition to the staff, the hotel residents will have access to a shuttle that runs from the Chattanooga Choo Choo to campus approximately 90 hours per week.  The hotel residents will also have access to numerous amenities that are available to all hotel guests.

If you would like more information about how we are handling the overflow housing, please feel free to visit the two below web links.

Housing Demographics as of 8/8/11
Group Hotel All Campus Housing Compared to All Campus Housing for Fall 2010
First Time Freshmen 115 1728 213
Transfer Students 39 130 9
Returning Upperclass Students 32 1280 -159
In addition to this important overall housing update, I should also share that as in years past, we work with a number of early arrival groups that have a need to be here before the official move-in day.  This year is no different, in fact, you may have already noticed some groups here already.  We expect to have between 400 and 500 residents on campus before the August 18th move-in day.  If you have any questions about the various early arrival groups, please feel free to contact our office.
Steven Hood
Steven Hood, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Housing
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga