Weeks after the school year has ended, Bruin Walk still teems with life and the residence halls are filled with people from around the world and the sounds of the new residents sleeping, studying and living. Those summer visitors who are not interested in living in a typical dorm room have been given an alternative.
This summer for the first time, 100 dorm rooms in Sunset Village Courtside were transformed into hotel accommodations to create Courtside Collections, a new set of living arrangements for UCLA visitors. The rooms were stripped of their cramped dorm furniture and each was filled with a queen-size bed, a nightstand, bureau and television.
The upgraded accommodations at Courtside serve as an extension of the sometimes overbooked UCLA Guest House, a hotel for UCLA guests on the corner of Hilgard and Wyton avenues.
Especially over the summer, there is a need to accommodate various conference groups as well as those here for summer camps and parents of students attending summer orientation, said Samantha Chan, director of catering, conference and marketing at UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services.
Revenue from housing visitors over the summer ““ around $21 million each year ““ goes toward keeping down the costs of room and board for students living on campus during the academic year, Chan said. The money from summer conferences also helps keep housing costs down for Hill residents, Chan said.
The 61-room Guest House has approximately 90 percent occupancy for most of the summer, allowing Housing to expect an increase in the number of guests at Courtside Collections as the summer progresses, Chan said.
Even throughout the year, there is a major demand for overnight and conference facilities, concluded a study by the university administration, said Phil Hampton, a UCLA spokesman. Administrators have cited this as a reason for building the proposed Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference and Guest Center amid opposition to the plans. If its budget is approved by the UC Board of Regents this week, the $152 million center would house 250 hotel rooms.
But Hampton said that Courtside Collections is only a summer fix to a year-round need for rooms that the proposed conference center would provide for.
Housing and Hospitality Services put about $300,000 into the renovation of Courtside, which includes renting the furniture, all of which has been compensated through guest fees, Chan said.
Daily room rates for Courtside Collections range from $158 for single occupancy to $167 for double.
Courtside Collections is open to anyone affiliated with UCLA. This includes individuals visiting students or faculty, or those attending events ““ such as a meeting, conference or performance ““ within the school.
Guests receive a complimentary breakfast at Covel Dining Hall or Bruin CafÃ© and can also use the recreational facilities at the John Wooden Center and the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. They also have a private bathroom.
Courtside will convert back to traditional dorms in early September.
To date, the summer residential program has produced about $500,000 in profit, she added.
Summer session students are housed in Rieber Hall, Saxon Suites and University Apartments, while different camps and conferences occupy the rest of the housing facilities on the Hill, Chan said.
With Courtside Collections, Chan anticipates UCLA will attract more guests and groups looking for an upscale lodging experience, she said.
Jim Taglauer, a current guest at Courtside Collections, has stayed at UCLA many times over the years as a senior staff member of the National Youth Leadership Forum, which hosts regular conferences at UCLA over the summer.
Though he stayed in De Neve Residential Plazas in past visits, Taglauer said he felt it was time for a change after he heard about the refurbished housing at Courtside Collections.
“I’m not a college student anymore,” Taglauer said, “So waking up in an extra long twin in De Neve leaves a little bit to be desired. So (Courtside Collections) is a nice little upgrade.”
Taglauer added that he enjoys the privacy offered by Courtside Collections because it allows him to separate himself from his program at the end of the day
“All the little upgrades make it feel more like home than a dorm room,” Taglauer said. “You would never know you were staying at a college campus.”