Sunday, February 10, 2008

Old English Inn to house 300 Union students through December

Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson voted unanimously Feb. 10 to open the entire Old English Inn, which the church owns and operates, to Union University students displaced by the Feb. 5 tornado that destroyed much of the Union’s residence life buildings.

The church action means that about 300 Union students will live at the facility through December 2008. Union has renamed the facility the Phil and Marilyn Jett Inn, in honor of longtime Englewood pastor Phil Jett, for the time that Union will use the facility.

“I want to thank Pastor Ben Mandrell and Mr. Paul Priddy, as well as the entire Englewood family, for their generous support of Union University during this challenging moment in our history,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “Their offer to provide housing for up to 300 Union University students is a mark of Christian charity and a genuine evidence of their love and support for the students of this institution.”

Mandrell, Englewood’s senior pastor, and Priddy, the church’s executive, approached Dockery about the possibility of the church helping Union in this way.

“Englewood Baptist Church has had a historic relationship with Union University, which includes our faithful ministry to faculty, staff and students for many years,” Mandrell said. “The opportunity to serve Union at this critical time in the life of the university enables us to carry out our mission to love God, love people and serve the world in a very tangible way.”

Initial plans are for about 180 women to live on the top floor, while about 120 men will stay on the bottom floor. In addition to the student rooms, the Phil and Marilyn Jett Inn has study rooms, gathering rooms and wireless Internet service throughout the facility.

“It is an exciting opportunity to think that we can house almost 300 students together in a new residence life situation for the good of the students and the enhancement of new student life efforts at Union University,” Dockery said.

Housing accommodations for the nearly 1,100 residential students have been a top priority for Union University administrators following the tornado that injured 51 students. In addition to the 300 students at the Phil and Marilyn Jett Inn, current plans are for another 350 students to continue living in undamaged residential life buildings on campus when classes resume the week of Feb. 18.

About 250 students have secured their own off-campus housing, and Union expects to place about 200 students in the homes of Union faculty, staff and friends.

Since students have already been charged for their on-campus housing for the semester, they will have some financial options from which to choose. Housing at the Phil and Marilyn Jett Inn will cost about 30 percent less than on-campus housing, so students placed at the hotel may choose to receive a credit of 30 percent of their on-campus housing costs. Or, they may donate up to that 30 percent to Union’s disaster relief fund.

For students who have secured their own housing, Union will credit their accounts.

More specific details about student housing efforts are forthcoming this week, and Student Services personnel will call each student individually to communicate the various details and options available to students.

Please visit UU Recovery for upcoming announcements.