Northeastern University has told the BPDA it has increased the number of rooms it wants to rent to house students and the staffers who would oversee them at the Westin Copley Place from roughly 575 to as many as 875 - which would mean up to 19 floors in the hotel being set aside for Northeastern.
In a request filed last week, the university says it might need the extra rooms for students who had originally signed up for study at its London campus as part of its N.U.in England program:
After the application submission date, the decision was made to close the London site for the fall semester and offer participants the opportunity to transfer to the Boston site. Based on this change in operations, the number of estimated beds has increased from 550-575 to 850-875.
Northeastern adds it might seek to rent additional space at the hotel - it has already agreed to rent the entire Midtown Hotel on Huntington Avenue - should it have to shut its campus in Ireland:
As of July 28, 2020, this site is still operational; however, we are closely monitoring the site’s status and pending its closure, there may be a need to further increase the number of beds by approximately ten percent.
In the filing, the school said it will be renting entire floors for students, who would be assigned two to a room, although some of the staffers might be put in rooms on floors with regular hotel guests.
Approximately 50 students (25 rooms) will occupy each floor, across 17-19 floors in the hotel. Floors with student rooms will be designated for students only and will not be booked with other guests. Approximately 3 staff rooms will be present on each floor. Some staff may occupy rooms on non-student floors.
Northeastern describes some of the changes that will be required:
The hotel will be re-arranging furniture in student rooms to ensure two double and/or queen beds are provided where needed. Rooms designated on
student floors that previously only contained king beds will be reorganized to accommodate two beds. Mini-bars, ottomans, and coffee machines will be removed
from the room by the hotel. Northeastern will be providing additional desks and/or bureaus in rooms as needed. All excess furniture will be stored on-site by the hotel. The existing wireless internet capability will be expanded to accommodate student need.
Northeastern needs approval of both the BPDA and ISD to rent the rooms. It's part of a "de-densification" effort by Northeastern and other Boston schools to reduce Covid-19 risks by eliminating triple and quad rooms - as well as the need for more rooms after some on-campus dorms are converted into isolation buildings for students who test positive for the virus.
Revised Northeastern application for temporary off-campus housing (734k PDF).