The college also purchased the mortgage on the Williams Inn to ensure it remains in local hands.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College is exploring the idea of building a high-end hotel in town.
The college is "looking into" the possibility and is in the process of finding a marketing consultant to help determine whether the move makes sense, according to Williams' assistant to the president for public affairs.
"I would describe the idea as a boutique hotel," James Kolesar said Tuesday, cautioning that the discussions are still in the early stages.
"There certainly is no decision to do that yet."
Kolesar said one of the jobs of the marketing consultant would be to help determine where such a hotel could be built. One area under consideration is college-owned property at the south end of Spring Street.
The college last fall purchased the Richard A. Ruether American Legion Post home at the corner of Spring and Latham streets for $775,000, leasing the first floor back to the post for at least two years.
The town has two larger hotels — the Williams Inn and Orchards — along with a number of smaller motels and bed & breakfasts.
Kolesar said the administration is looking into the idea after hearing suggestions from people in the college community, town residents, alumni and parents.
"We heard from enough people that the town would benefit from such a thing," he said.
While that plan is in its infancy, the college has made another move on the local lodging scene.
Williams has acquired the mortgage for the Williams Inn from Hoosac Bank, Kolesar confirmed on Tuesday.
"The college was approached about purchasing the mortgage on the Williams Inn building and did so as an investment so that ownership of the mortgage would remain in local hands," Kolesar wrote in an email responding to an inquiry about the move.
Kolesar said the college had no plans to make any changes to the management of the inn, which has been family-owned and operated by Carl and Marilyn Faulkner since 1991.
Williams owns the land on Field Park where the inn is located. It leases the property to the inn, Kolesar said.
The current 100-room Williams Inn was built on a site previously occupied by a college fraternity and Harley Proctor, one of the founders of Proctor & Gamble, according to the inn's website.