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A Holiday Inn Express & Suites near campus will soon house Virginia Tech students, according to a university spokesman.

BLACKSBURG — Some Virginia Tech students will call the Holiday Inn home next year.

The university has reached an agreement “in principle” to lease out the Holiday Inn Express hotel on Plantation Road near its intersection with Prices Fork Road for the 2019-20 academic year, according to Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski.

Social media and message board rumors have swirled about the agreement since Thursday evening.

Tech and Blacksburg are bracing for a spike in enrollment next year that necessitated the move. The university is expecting 1,000 more than the 6,600 freshmen it anticipated for the incoming class.

The hotel offers the university 195 beds, Owczarski said. The school is “excited” by the arrangement, the costs of which are yet to be finalized, he said.

Tech provost Cyril Clarke has said the university is in search of about 500 beds off campus after the university adds about 500 beds to existing campus housing.

That means this isn’t the final move by the university to manage housing for the enrollment surge, Owczarski said. Other hotels, maximizing space on campus and other options are still being considered for university housing.

“We’re having many conversations and looking at many, many options,” he said.

The hotel setting, though, is a good one, Owczarski said, that can function much like a residence hall.

The hotel will have resident assistants, commonly called RAs, and will offer other programming that students might traditionally find in dormitories that “will create an environment very similar to one found in a residence hall,” he said.

An online system to lease rooms from the Holiday Inn shows no rooms available after Aug. 6. Tech classes start on Aug. 26, with most students who live on campus moving in the week prior.

A general manager of the Holiday Inn declined to comment on the tentative arrangement when reached by The Roanoke Times Friday morning.

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Robby Korth covers higher education, primarily Virginia Tech.

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