Circus Circus Tower Transforms into Dorms for Nevada-Reno Students Affected By Campus Explosion

Posted on: August 26, 2019, 03:37h. 

Last updated on: August 26, 2019, 12:42h.

For 1,300 students at the University of Nevada-Reno, the college life experience this year will be a little different, after the school signed an agreement with Eldorado Resorts to transform the company’s non-casino Circus Circus hotel tower into a dormitory.

University of Nevada-Reno students have moved into the Circus Circus non-casino tower to start the school year. The school paid Eldorado Resorts $21.7 million to rent the rooms for 1,300 students. (Image: KSNV-TV)

The agreement was necessary after an on-campus explosion last month left two student halls unavailable. The school made arrangements with Eldorado, founded by the Carano family, shortly after the explosion for temporary housing for students taking the summer classes. Then, on Aug. 1, both sides finalized a deal for the 2019-2020 school year.

The University looked at other properties throughout Reno-Sparks,” the school said in a press release last month. “None can replicate what the West Tower can provide – 1,300 beds, complete University control of the entire building, and proximity to our campus.”

The university will pay Eldorado nearly $21.7 million, which will come from funding it receives from an insurance claim after the explosion. School officials are calling the building Wolf Pack Tower, referencing the nickname for the school’s athletic teams.

No Gambling

Since many college students are younger than 21, the legal age to gamble in Nevada, both parties have taken steps to restrict access to the casino floor.

For starters, university officials told parents their students will not access their rooms by going through the gaming floor. The Associated Press has reported that the skywalk that connected the tower to the Circus Circus casino has been closed.

To make the tower feel even more like a dorm, media reports indicate the school is transforming the tower’s wedding chapel into a student lounge and study hall.

School officials have worked to allay parents concerns about the 28-story hotel being connected to a casino.

“It is not a casino building,” said Marc Johnson, university president in the AP article. “It is not a casino tower. It happens to be a hotel facility owned by a casino-hotel company.”

Freshman Keean Goffe, a Las Vegas resident, told the AP that being close to a casino won’t likely serve as a distraction. “I don’t think anyone my age is interested in slots,” he said.

Safety Measures Taken at Wolf Pack Tower

More parents, however, were worried about Circus Circus being off-campus, raising concerns about their children’s safety in traveling to and from classes and other campus facilities.

According to the press release, “All entrances and exits will be staffed by University employees and a key-card system will be utilized for entry into the building. Additionally, University Police Services will have a substation in the building and will provide routine patrols 24/7. Security cameras are also in place.”

In addition, the school will run a shuttle service every 15 minutes that will pick up and drop off at two spots on campus.

Local and state lawmakers got the chance to tour the tower last week.

“Had a unique opportunity to tour the new @unevadareno “Wolf Pack Tower” at @CircusReno with (state Sen.) @HeidiGansert (R-Reno) & (Reno City Councilwoman) @JennyBrekhus. The Caranos & #UNR have done an exceptional job rapidly creating dorms with security, study areas & a campus feel. #LemonadeFromLemons #WolfPackRules,” tweeted Reno Vice Mayor Naomi Duerr on Friday.