Seventy-six McGill students will occupy two floors of the Quality Hotel this year, making it McGill’s newest “residence.”
Numbers have once again exceeded the capacity of the campus residence system, resulting in the university’s acquisition of two floors at the Quality Hotel at Parc and Sherbrooke.
The decision to add the space was made by McGill Housing in late June, when it became clear that residence capacity could not satisfy application demands.
“The first batch of students that found out they were going to the Quality Hotel found out the first week of August,” said Michael Porritt, executive director of Residences and Student Housing.
“[The decision] didn’t make a whole lot of people upset,” Porritt continued, “but it did catch them by surprise, just the same as when people first got assigned to Carrefour Sherbrooke the first year.”
The 74 students and two floor fellows will be living on the third and fourth floors of the hotel, and will be able to utilize resources at both New Residence Hall and Carrefour Sherbrooke.
Although the Quality Hotel is not equipped either with a cafeteria of its own or sizeable common rooms, students are being compensated with benefits exclusive to their residence. These include free wireless internet, a weekly cleaning service, free cable, garbage and recycling pickup, and a commuter meal plan which allows them to eat anywhere on campus.
Katia Fox, a McGill student and resident of the Quality Hotel, explained her initial reaction to finding out about her residence situation three weeks ago.
“First of all, I was thinking it’s kind of far – RVC would have been a lot closer – and the rooms are kind of small. As I’ve stayed here more its really nice though, its cozy, it’s homey, and it’s really not that far,” Fox said.
Hikati Semgoku, another Quality resident, said she “thought [the residence] was small, and it would be difficult to live in a hotel room, but now it feels like home because it’s a small community and people here are so nice.”
When asked if she had a problem living with other hotel guests in the building, Semgoku said, “I don’t think so – we just meet those people in the elevators.”
Residents of the Quality Hotel will be given full access to the facilities at New Residence Hall, and will be using their larger rooms for floor meetings, as well as joining the students there in larger events such as Rez Fest. Brenda Shanahan, the residence director of New Rez, will direct both residences.
The hotel will continue to be monitored by Quality Hotel staff, along with the assistance of McGill floor fellows Basil Kadoura and Erin Schwabe-Fry. Porritt explained that although McGill security is not currently involved with the facility, “that’s already worked into our agreement with the hotel – that we can add security as needed for special events.”
In reference to move-in weekend, Kadoura said that the group “didn’t have very many issues – it was really smooth. The students are all meeting each other and loving how small it is, how close everyone can get.”
Schwabe-Fry explained how students have been adjusting to the new residence community.
“It’s a totally new thing, so they’re very enthusiastic and taking the initiative to make their own community – we’ve been really impressed – but they’re still kind of mingling and reaching out to the larger residence communities that already exist,” Schwabe-Fry said. “They have existing models that they can base things off of, but this is its own space, its own group of kids.”
When asked whether the Quality Hotel facilities would be used again next year, Porritt did not have a definite answer.
“Next fall, we’ll have about 280 more beds at 410 Sherbrooke, in what used to be the Marriott Hotel. If you take everybody that is on temporary spaces now, plus everybody that’s in the Quality Hotel, plus everybody that cancelled once they were notified they had been assigned to a temporary space, [that] fills the building right there. So it’s not off the table that we could use [the Quality Hotel] again, but its less likely than it was this year, because we’ll have the new building,” Porritt said.