Walk down Oakmont Court and all the way down the street to the left, you’ll find a few small apartments behind the mysterious William Knox Holt Center. These apartments house the visiting staff and lecturers that come to Trinity so that they can live practically on campus and get multiple chances to interact with the community.
Ellen Barnett of the department of education enjoyed staying at an apartment when she was being interviewed to work here.
“When I came to Trinity for my on-campus interview, I stayed in that apartment and it was really nice. It has a bedroom, a bathroom and a walk-in closet, a little living area and a little kitchenette with a table, so it feels like a little apartment. It was just really nice. On-campus interviews are nerve-wracking, and it just made me feel like I had a little place to stay; it was like a home away from home,” Barnett said.
Barnett enjoyed how well-furnished the apartment was, saying that a couple or single person could easily live there comfortably.
“There are drinks in the refrigerator, which was nice, like cocoa and coffee and soda. I guess I was supposed to drink those. It has wifi, and literature too; it has copies of the Trinity In Focus magazine, I think it might have the Trinitonian in it. There’s some books, so you can kind of relax,” Barnett said.
Members of conferences and special programs, a department that is housed in the Holt Center, is in charge of scheduling each of the visitors’ stay in the apartment.
“All the requests come from different faculty and staff members. It’s usually speakers that are being brought in or candidates for job positions that are being brought in. Whoever has actually invited a guest to campus submits the request through T-SPACE. And so then I’m the approver, and I go and make sure it’s available, confirm it and follow up by sending them a confirmation email back,” said Lois Garza, the officer manager at conferences and special programs.
Garza works with TUPD to issue the keys to the guests, and ensures that a housekeeping company comes and cleans the apartments in between each of the stays so that the rooms maintain their high quality. This housing opportunity allows the school to limit costs for transportation and hotels; the rooms are also affordable, as the guests are only charged $50 a night to cover the costs of cleaning the room after their visits.
According to Garza, the location of the guest apartments have changed over the years.
“We actually had a guest house, which is where Sheryl Tynes is living now. So we actually had three bedrooms up on the second floor which were fully furnished. We went out and bought furniture and the house was redone. After the engineering department moved out, it became a guest house. And then Sheryl Tynes moved in and it went back to a residence,” Garza said.
Today, the apartments continue to be a great resource for professors who want to invite a lecturer to speak on campus or for department chairs who are interviewing their various job candidates.
Chris Pursell, the chair of the department of chemistry, has used the guest apartments for faculty candidate interviews over 10 times. His guests often mentioned how impressed they were with them upon their departure.
“They are impressive facilities and I think that they give people the feeling of being special while they’re on campus. [It makes visitors feel] that the university is a nice place and treats people in a special way and that they are super close to the campus,” Pursell said.
Barnett agreed that staying in the apartments when she was interviewing allowed her to get a better grasp of Trinity’s campus.
“It was particularly nice on this interview with Trinity because you usually will stay in a hotel or a Bed and Breakfast in the area, which can be nice too, but staying here lets you learn a little bit about the community. I really appreciated being able to stay on the campus. I felt like I got a better sense of what the campus was like by being able to stay on campus. I walked around a little bit during the downtime, and it was easy to do that too because I was right there,” Barnett said.
Unfortunately, the apartments are for guests only, and can’t actually serve as housing for students.
“It’s not for personal use, it’s not for staff use, it’s mainly for the guests. I get reservations from all of the departments on our campus. Most of the time this is for anyone who’s bringing a candidate in for a job interview. There’s a web address, you just search “˜guest apartments at Trinity’ and then it just gives you the houses. There are some conditions to staying here. Three days maximum, no kids, no pets and just some small things about check-in time, check-out time, where to get the key, and wireless activity and access to it and things like that. I guess the apartments are just not really advertised, but it is probably known by the people who have already been here for a while,” Garza said.