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RMU to Purchase Holiday Inn Pittsburgh Airport

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pittsburgh – Robert Morris University is purchasing the Holiday Inn Pittsburgh Airport to accommodate its substantial growth in undergraduate enrollment, residential enrollment, and student retention – all at historic levels in 2011-12.

The hotel, located on University Boulevard less than 1 mile from RMU’s Moon Township campus, currently houses approximately 144 students on floors separated from hotel guests. The university began housing students at the hotel last fall because of rising demand for campus housing. As many as 212 students have lived there at one time.

Including the students at the Holiday Inn, 1,679 RMU students are living in campus housing this fall, an 86-percent increase since 2000. In August, the university opened its 13th residence hall, Peter Salem Hall, which houses 190 students.

RMU plans to continue to operate the Holiday Inn as a hotel through at least 2012, dedicating some floors to student housing during that time. Robert Morris has engaged Pittsburgh-based Prospera Hospitality to assist with the hotel management and to ensure a smooth transition of the ownership of the hotel, which is not expected to undergo major changes in the short term.

“We have increasingly become a university of choice for students who seek an engaged and holistic collegiate experience, which includes a 24-hour living and learning environment,” said RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo. “This facility will allow us to manage our growth strategically and continue to provide our students with high-quality residential and recreational spaces.”

Approximately half of all full-time undergraduate students now live on campus, versus 37 percent in 2000. Total undergraduate enrollment, including part-time students, is 3,910.

The hotel ultimately will provide Robert Morris with the space to house 500 students. That figure represents the shortfall in campus housing RMU would face by 2017 if the university were to take no action. The building will allow RMU to guarantee housing to a majority of undergraduate students.

“This growth of residential enrollment is an important component of RMU’s strategic plan, which calls on the university to boost student retention and graduation rates. National research and our own experience demonstrate a strong relationship between living on campus and improved academic performance,” said John Michalenko, vice president for student life at RMU.

The Holiday Inn will give RMU an additional fitness center – the other is located in Jefferson Center on campus -- as well as a swimming pool, which RMU does not have on campus but which has been popular with students living at the hotel. All told, the property includes 17 acres, where the university plans to create additional recreational spaces.

The hotel will provide opportunities for student employment, and offer students in RMU’s hospitality and tourism management program the chance to gain real-world experience.

The hotel includes 12,000 square feet of conference space, more than twice what the university offers in Sewall Center, which hosts 110 outside events throughout the year. The conference facilities at the hotel would allow RMU to free up space for campus events in Sewall, which includes the arena that is home court to the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the volleyball team.

ABOUT ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY
Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.