The Biddle Hotel at the Indiana Memorial Union is partnering with Residential Programs and Services for the upcoming school year. Instead of functioning as a hotel, the Biddle will be offered to students and faculty to live in for the academic year.
“This isn’t a great year for visitors on campus, so instead we came together to operate as student housing,” IMU executive director Hank Walter said. “We will be able to better serve the campus this way because we won't have guest speakers and faculty from other universities coming onto campus.”
Housing is being offered to sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate students and faculty. Walter said because this option isn’t meant for first-year students, there won’t be any residential assistants.
The length of leases are only for the 10-month academic year. Dean of students Andi Cailles said they plan to have students move in Aug. 15, but that date isn’t finalized yet. The price range of leases are between $13,900-16,900. There are five room options, including a queen or king bed. More expensive rooms include a couch, an additional television and a table set. Each room will have a private bathroom.
There are 186 rooms available for students who want to live at the Biddle. Cailles said there have been nearly 100 inquiries made by students to sign up. Contracts are not yet finalized, but students will be able to sign them early next week.
Walter said room rates were determined based on market pricing. Walter said the Biddle is cheaper than other hotels in Bloomington being offered to students. The Hilton Garden Inn will charge students a little over $16,000 to live there for the academic year for a one-bed room. Hyatt Place Bloomington will charge residents between $12,000-15,600 for the academic year depending if the room has one or two beds.
“The location and amenities are very convenient,” Cailles said. “The Indianapolis to Bloomington airport shuttle stop is right outside the IMU, and because this is considered campus housing, financial aid can be applied.”
Cailles said the Biddle wasn’t suddenly offered to students because RPS doesn’t have enough room. There is still space for students interested in residential halls.
Residents will receive a set of bed and bath linens supplied by the hotel. Students who wish for extra linens will be able to get them at the Biddle’s front desk for an extra fee.
The housekeeping staff will continue to work for the hotel and will provide their residents with weekly laundry services strictly for bed and bath linens included in the Biddle’s residential fees. Students cannot do personal laundry at the Biddle and will have to use the Tide Laundry Service or local laundromats for personal laundry.
Students will be able to buy a parking pass through the Biddle and bring their cars on campus. Cailles said once the application launches, students will be asked if they want to purchase a parking pass. Students who purchase a pass will be able to park in the lot adjacent to the IMU. A price is still being finalized for the pass.
Although it is not yet finalized, Cailles said it is unlikely nonresidents, including family members and friends, will be allowed access to resident’s rooms. Since the Biddle has partnered with RPS, it will be responsible for making the final decision on visitor access.
“The opportunity to live in the Union is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Walter said. “You can’t ask for a better location, and this will most likely be the first and only year this option is offered to students.”