UAA markets the Commons for summer conventions use

PHOTO/Alaska State Library/PCA 01-1171
University of Alaska Anchorage officials are promoting the Commons and its student housing complex as potential meeting space or as inexpensive lodging for summer event participants.

The facilities would be available this summer from May 10 to Aug. 10, when most students vacate student housing. Currently, the complex totals 950 beds, although some rooms require summer maintenance. That leaves roughly 600 beds typically available at one time, said Lori Davey of Alaska Marketing Consultants, which is helping promote the service.

Meeting or event participants can also use the 350-person cafeteria as well as three private conference rooms, a workout facility and a convenience store, all in the Commons.

"It’s a jewel of a place," Davey said.

UAA completed construction of the facility in 1998 and has hosted summer groups at student housing in past years, although university officials have not promoted the facility, she said. Consequently, the facility has registered about 35 percent capacity for the past few years, she said.

A new marketing effort, begun Nov. 1 by Davey and her partner, Yvette Milne, aims to boost summer capacity.

Although the UAA summer meeting and lodging business brings in some revenue, the chief aim is to help finance staffing levels for the facility, she said. Davey and UAA Conference and Catering Services are aiming for occupation of 50 percent during summer.

Nightly room rates start at $30 for some youth groups, $35 for UAA affiliated programs and $45 for groups not affiliated with the university. Costs can also increase if guests want linens changed daily, Davey said.

Most of the rooms for conference guests are single rooms with a limited amount of double spaces. Rooms feature local telephone service, cable television, computer Ethernet connections and coffee makers.

Marketing efforts are targeting delegates for in-state meetings or national convention delegates who are on a tight budget, Davey said. Other possibilities include church, sports or youth groups, wedding parties and traveling family groups.

In the past, church groups and others have booked rooms at UAA student housing, Davey said.

"It can appeal to a lot of people," she said.

At the Commons the Grand Hall totals 2,250 square feet and is available for receptions. Seating in the two major conference rooms is listed at a maximum of 72 people in Room 106 and 84 in Room 107 in the theater-style arrangement. The Canary Room seats up to 45 people.

Both the Canary Room and Room 107 can open up into the Creekside Eatery dining room to accommodate a large event with seating a capacity of 340.

12/02/2001 - 8:00pm