University signs contract for interim housing at Circus Circus

RENO, NV (KOLO) - The University of Nevada, Reno has signed a contract with CCR Newco, LLC to house 1,300 students displaced by the July 5 Argenta Hall explosions at the Circus Circus Reno, UNR said in a statement Thursday.

The University has renamed the interim hall “Wolf Pack Tower.” Photo courtesy: University of Nevada, Reno

University Residential Life and Housing will occupy the newly-renovated, non-gaming West Tower (“Sky Tower”) of Circus Circus Reno.

"The tower is very separate from the casino, the food courts from all of what you would associate with the casino," Shannon Ellis, the university's vice president of student life, says.

The University has renamed the interim hall “Wolf Pack Tower.”

“We are happy to see our plan for a seamless integration of Wolf Pack Tower into the University’s housing experience realized,” Marc Johnson, University president, said. “The University community is fortunate that our longtime community partner Eldorado Resorts understands what the needs of our program are and has agreed to work with us on transitioning their property into a residence space where our students will live, study and thrive.”

“We’re also grateful to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents for recognizing the urgency of housing so many students in such a short time, and moving quickly in unanimous support of our efforts to secure the needed housing,” he said.

The University says students will have separate, non-gaming entrances and exits to the building, and around-the-clock security.

"You can easily go in and out of it and go to your residence and not be conscience of any gaming," Ellis says.

All entrances and exits will be staffed by University employees and a key-card system will be utilized for entry into the building. Additionally, University Police Services will have a substation in the building and will provide routine patrols 24/7. Security cameras are also in place.

“We are honored to be able to partner with the University in providing a workable solution to its unexpected student housing needs,” said Anthony Carano, president and chief operating officer of Eldorado Resorts, Inc. “Eldorado Resorts will do everything within our reach to ensure that Wolf Pack students are provided a quality living experience and we look forward to wishing them a warm welcome back to school this month.”

Some students say that as long as the university keeps it as close as possible to regular dorm life, this new housing arrangement could work.

"I feel that if they are able to transition the staff over there and have that presence it will probably be fine but if they can't then I don't know if it will be a good idea," Bailey Shields, a senior at UNR, says.

The payment under the lease agreement with Eldorado Resorts is approximately $21.675 million. This amount will form part of the University’s claim through its insurance. Housing rates will remain consistent with the University’s currently published rates. Student fees and tuition are not being used to pay for Wolf Pack Tower.

Additional information about Wolf Pack Tower can be found here.

According to the university, student housing assignments will go out starting today.

Dining:

Since the University’s main dining facility was also damaged by the July 5 explosions, the university says dining facilities for all residence hall students with a meal plan will be available through two temporary structures, built sequentially.

Starting the week of Aug. 12, the University will have a mobile kitchen and temporary tent structure in the plaza east of Great Basin Hall. This structure will feed and seat up to 400 students at a time. The Overlook Café will also continue to operate as an all-you-care-to-eat residence hall dining facility. Later in the fall, the University will open a semi-permanent dining facility over the lawn between Thompson Hall and the Jot Travis Building.

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A view of Circus Circus from the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Photo by Elizabeth Rodil/KOLO.