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Campus Suites at Dogtown to provide new housing opportunity for students

Photo by Olivia Klassen | Assistant Photography Editor

The Holiday Inn Express has provided visitors to Drake with easy access to campus. Starting this August, Drake anticipates that the inn will instead do the same for third-year students and above.

After the inn did not renew its lease with Drake, the University decided to offer a new housing opportunity called Campus Suites at Dogtown, according to residence life director Lorissa Sowden. Sowden answered questions about the new residence opportunity over email in coordination with chief student affairs officer Jerry Parker. 

“Not only is Campus Suites at Dogtown a great option for our undergraduate population, including John D. Bright College students, but also our graduate and professional school students that are looking for an affordable and close option to campus,” Sowden said. 

Students can purchase a lease for a calendar year (August-August) or an academic year (August-May). Residents will pay $3,000 for each of the 2022-2023 spring and fall semesters and will also be required to purchase a residential or commuter meal plan for those terms. Students who have already stayed in Drake’s residence halls for two years will have priority for the 45 private rooms. 

Residents who choose to stay for the summer will pay $1,500, and those who stay for January Term will pay $59/day with a meal plan and $36/day without. 

For comparison, a single room in one of Drake’s residence halls will cost $4,657 each semester and over $4,500 for summer term in the 2022-2023 year. 

According to Natasha Borders from Drake West Village, one agreement for a 1 bed-1 bath apartment in Drake West Village is 10 installments of $912 for an academic year lease (August-May), for a total of $9,120. Another agreement, Borders said, is 12 installments of $892 for a full-year lease from August-July, for a total of $10,704. 

Drake sophomore Munachi Okuagu is thinking of living in Drake West Village rather than Campus Suites at Dogtown. She said that there, she’d have her own amenities like a kitchen and would be closer to campus.

“Yeah, it feels a little bit more homey,” Okuagu said of Drake West Village. “Like, as homey as an apartment can be.”

Amenities at Campus Suites at Dogtown include a flat-screen television, personal bathroom, microwave, mini-fridge, floor lamp, full-length mirror, a workout room and laundry for no additional cost. The purchase of a parking pass will be required to park at the former hotel. Wireless internet will be provided, but Sowden said that Drake is still working with its ITS department to determine what WiFi will be offered.

Drake enters agreement to explore the possibility of selling Ross Hall

Drake President Marty Martin said that Drake has approved a Memorandum of Understanding with an unknown party to explore selling Ross Hall and the Norman and McCoy Apartment Buildings, according to minutes from the January 26 faculty senate meeting. Martin said in the meeting that Ross has an excess of $6 million in deferred maintenance costs and renovating it would only make 110 beds available. 

“The University is exploring what might be possible in the future, but no final decisions have been made,” Sowden said. “We will continue to evaluate our residence hall portfolio, the preferences of students, and the needs of our surrounding community in assessing what is next for Ross Hall.”

The Holiday Inn has served as a backup for isolation housing of students with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the event that Ross Hall had reached capacity, according to a Feb. 18  interview with Drake provost Sue Mattison. As of Drake’s COVID-19 update on April 1, there were 11 students with confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

“We anticipate that Ross Hall will remain available for [COVID-19 isolation housing],” Sowden said. “Should that change, we will ensure alternatives are available for this important purpose.​”

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