From dorm rooms to hotel suites: housing the visitors
While sophomores still have to worry about housing for the next fall term, the Secret Service and the press had better not complain about their housing assignments for the upcoming Commencement weekend. They could be living on campus--and they won't be in the River cluster or the Choates.
Two weeks ago, the Commencement and Reunion Office set aside Richardson Hall to the Secret Service and the Ripley Woodward Smith cluster to the press, according to the ORL's Commencement and Reunion Housing Coordinator Lynn Krugman.
"The Secret Service wanted to be as close to the stadium as possible. And also, there won't be many seniors staying in Richardson," Krugman said.
But soon after setting aside these accommodations, Krugman said she received a call from Washington notifying her that the Secret Service would no longer be staying with us on campus.
She said the press and the "Presidential Party" are staying at the Best Western Hotel in Lake Sunapee, near Concord. Hanover Inn Director of Sales James Birmingham said the White House staff are rumored to be commuting to the College from Lake Sunapee.
Bob Behrens, Head of Operations at the Best Western, said the rooms are booked from the entire weekend from June 5th to June 12th.
"Yes, we are hosting people from the Presidential Party, mainly support people, but I am not authorized to tell anyone the specifics unless the White House says so." Behrens said.
"I am not at liberty to say anything," he added.
Krugman said the rest of the College's residence halls will be filled during Commencement weekend by about 1100 people, including alumni, parents, students, relatives, and guests.
Three reunions are also taking place during Commencement weekend. Krugman said people coming to the College for the reunions will be staying in the East Wheelock cluster and in the Lodge.
"For the parents, students, relatives, and other guests, we're filling all the residence halls--the Fayerweathers, Topliff, Mass Row," she said. "We've even begun to fill a building in Tuck."
Other hotels throughout the Upper Valley also say they are filled to capacity for Commencement weekend.
Guests of the College are stay at the Hanover Inn, according to Birmingham.
Birmingham said the Hanover Inn is owned by the College, and for certain events the College blocks off rooms in the Inn, under direction of the President's Office and Blunt Alumni Center.
"They provide us with a list of 92 guests of the College, whether they are the honorary degree recipients, the Trustees, or other guests of the College," he said. "And we have 92 rooms."
Birmingham also said the College has given a couple of rooms to the White House staff, but he believes President Clinton will not be staying overnight in Hanover.
The Radisson Inn North Country in West Lebanon has also booked a few rooms for the White House staff, according to Dorothy Findley in the Reservations Department at the Radisson.
"We are booked solid," Findley said. "The majority of the rooms are for parents, but we do have a few rooms for White House staff, who called us sometime between the end of April and the beginning of May. The Press has also asked for accommodations--but unsuccessfully, because we are booked."
The Holiday Inn and Comfort Inn in White River Junction and the Days Inn in Lebanon had the same thing to say about accommodations during Commencement weekend: "We are booked."
Since most of the hotels throughout the area are booked during Commencement, some visitors may find it hard to find accommodations.
However, the community has offered its support to its visitors. College Spokesperson Alex Huppe said a number of people in the area have opened up their houses for people to stay--even as far as Brownsville, Vermont."
"I've opened up my own house to the parents of a '95, who will be staying at my house during Commencement weekend" Huppe said.
Before the Secret Service called Krugman two weeks ago, she said she had no idea if they were staying on campus. "I don't think we're too high on the White House's priority list," she said.
The White House and the Secret Service did not return calls regarding their accommodations during Commencement weekend.