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Friday, Oct 22, 2021

#TBT: Mercer places students in hotels during 2001 housing shortage

Delays on construction for Mercer Hall in 2001 caused around 200 students to have to move into hotels 6.5 miles off of campus.
Delays on construction for Mercer Hall in 2001 caused around 200 students to have to move into hotels 6.5 miles off of campus.

Although students were told they would be housed on campus for the fall semester of 2001, Mercer University relocated about 200 students to local hotels for a month due to construction delays with the then new Mercer Hall.

“I was expecting to come back . . . settle in and move into my own room, but I got a letter from Mercer a month before I got back, saying I was going to be put into an inn 6.5 miles from campus,” said Ketan Patel, a student interviewed in The Cluster issue of Aug. 29, 2001.

Male students were assigned to Fairfield Inn and Suites while female students stayed at the Marriot’s Courtyard, according to handouts from a campus improvement program in 2001. Both located on Sheraton Drive in north Macon.

Resident assistants and professional staff stayed with the students, and Mercer Police patrolled the area at night.

Although there was a trolley that drove the students to and from the university, students who had cars also received reserved spots to park, The Cluster reported.

“The shuttle itself is good, and the hotel is not bad,” said Ramone Jeziovosky, who was Patel’s roommate. “But the shuttle leaves every half hour, so if you had 9 a.m. class, you’d have to really leave at 8 a.m. because of the traveling time to campus.”

The students had access to the hotel pool and weight room and were served meals at the hotel’s buffet, The Cluster reported.

Mercer officials said Mercer Hall would be ready in mid-September. Students moved in on September 14 and 15.

The 206-bed facility had basic cable, high speed internet, phone lines, utilities and an elevator.

“I just can’t freakin’ believe this place,” said John Chvatal, varsity basketball player at the time. “It hasn’t even sunk in that I actually live here.”

Although the housing shortage took place over a decade ago, students may already be wondering about the timeline for the new freshman dorm slated for fall 2016.

Jeff Takac, the director of residence life, said in an email that “everything is on schedule,” for the new building for freshmen.

The construction on the new building is scheduled to be completed in July 2016 and should be ready to house students at the beginning of the 2016 fall semester. The co-ed dorm will hold 304 students.


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