By Anthony Petro, Staff Writer
Photo by Anthony Petro/ The Towerlight
The former Towson Marriott Hotel was renovated, renamed The Residences at 10 West Burke Avenue and is now open for transfer student housing.
During her 2017 spring address, Towson University President Kim Schatzel announced the plan to convert the Marriott into housing for transfer students starting in the fall 2018 semester.
“On the student housing front alone, TU’s demand for student housing is only increasing more rapidly now than ever before,” Schatzel said during her spring 2017 address.
To go with that, according to an article by Jan Lucas and Sean Welsh on Towson’s website, the 2018 freshman class of 2022, is the largest class of incoming freshman in the history of the university. That’s approximately 3,000 freshmen and along with them, there are over 2,200 new transfers.
Towson has on campus housing for 5,720 students according to Christina Olstad, Interim Assistant Vice President for Housing and Residence Life, but there has never been a lot of living space for transfers, which make up a significant portion of the student body. According to Towson’s website, 11 percent of the student body are new transfers.
Warren Riefner, the Director of Operations and Maintenance, said the turnaround took 46 days but went very smoothly.
“The turnover was very short, but the staff and project manager did an outstanding job,” Olstad said. “We are thrilled to have The Residences at 10 West Burke Avenue open and have everyone moved in and happy.”
Olstad said that Project Manager and Assistant Director of Facilities Management, Nick Gingue, actually lived on site during the renovation to make sure everything was finished on time and ready for the more than 200 students who would be the first residents.
“I personally checked in multiple times with students during move in and they were absolutely thrilled to have housing,” Olstad said.
According to Olstad, move in occured over a two day period. On both days, there was a morning shift and evening shift, allowing for 50 students to move in at once. Olstad said that this helped keep the flow of traffic in control.
Sophomore Kendall Johnston, a computer science major, transferred to Towson from Frederick Community College. He is part of the first wave of residents in the new hall.
“I like it a lot,” Johnston said. “I’m really impressed, it’s way more than I expected.”
Ashley Gamble, a junior majoring in business administration also transferred from Frederick Community College. She shared the similar sentiments as Johnston.
“I really like it, it’s really nice,” Gamble said. “It’s better than I expected and it’s been a great experience so far.”
Junior Kailen Crawford, a junior information technology major who transferred from Howard Community College said the new hall has satisfied her so far.
“I didn’t really come in expecting much,” Crawford said. “But so far I’m happy with it.”
Olstad said the goal of the new hall was to give transfer students a more intimate experience with the university.
“Towson has a very vibrant on-campus experience,” Olstad said. “We are thrilled to open this housing and give transfers the opportunity to experience the campus the way incoming freshman do.”
The short turnaround from hotel to residence hall didn’t allow the university a lot of time to get new furniture, so almost all of it is left from the Marriott, according to Olstad. Towson did, however, order extra beds to accommodate the number of residents.
The President’s office held a grand opening celebration for the new residence hall and according to Olstad, over 250 individuals rsvp’d to attend the event.
This is the first time Towson has had housing specifically for transfer students, and it is also the first time the university has expanded past Burke Avenue.