TRAVERSE CITY — Tidy and peaceful are words rarely associated with college dormitories.
But that’s exactly what Madison Phillips found when she visited a friend who’s living in Northwestern Michigan University’s East Hall this summer.
“It’s quiet,” she said. “The rooms are huge and clean. I’ve only been here one night, but from what I can tell it’s better than my dorm room freshman year.”
Phillips, of Ann Arbor, appeared to be the only resident around East Hall on Thursday morning as she prepared to jog around NMC’s main campus. But the dormitory’s silence belied the fact that it’s home to hundreds of people — not just students — even when school’s out for summer.
“Most leave at 8 a.m. and return at 5 p.m.,” Marcus Bennett said of the dormitory’s residents as he walked through the empty building Thursday, the sound of his footsteps echoing against the hallway walls.
Bennett, NMC’s director of residence life and judicial affairs, said about 800 people passed in and out of East Hall dormitory rooms last summer. He expects that number to increase up toas many as 1,000 residents this year before mid-August, when NMC staffers start prepping for the return of fall semester students.
The dorm’s summer inhabitants range from students and interns to conference and event attendees — a large group of middle school girls will move in to East Hall when they visit Traverse City from Canada for a four-day hockey camp this month.
Even National Cherry Festival tourists call to inquire about dorm room availability when they hear NMC rents its extra space, Bennett said.
The dorm’s accommodations are far from four-star, but they get the job done. Rooms come with small refrigerators and microwaves; televisions and wireless Internet; and access to suite-style shared bathrooms. Computers, fax machines, printers, a coffee pot and a toaster are available in the dormitory’s lobby.