Parents interested in hanging out in Lawrence during May 1994 commencement weekend had better get a motel room now.
Unless already reserved, proud parents of Kansas University graduates won't have a room at Halcyon House Bed & Breakfast for commencement next year.
Manager Michelle Martin said the eight homey rooms at Halcyon, 1000 Ohio, are reserved for graduation weekend in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
"In some ways, it's absurd," she said. "Home football games are the same."
Many of the largest motels in Lawrence are booked solid for the May 15 extravaganza. On that date, about 40,000 family and friends will flood the city to honor students who will participate in KU's 122nd commencement program.
A clerk at Bismark Inn of Lawrence, 1100 N. Third, said all 53 rooms available for 1994 commencement were reserved before 1993 commencement.
"We sold out about the beginning of April," said Dan Cooke. "As soon as people know their child may graduate they start looking for a room."
Trevin Gay, a desk clerk at Best Western, 730 Iowa, said the 60 rooms there were snatched up in October -- eight months before graduation.
"This is normal," he said.
The story is the same at Travelodge, 801 Iowa, where the last of 68 rooms were reserved in June. And at the Eldridge Hotel, 701 Mass., 48 suites were taken long ago.
Doug Burris, desk clerk at Lawrence Holidome, 200 W. McDonald Dr., said a few of the motel's 192 rooms were available.
"We're so close that we'll sell them within the next couple weeks," he said.
At Halcyon, Martin said rooms in other motels might become available next spring. If students don't graduate as planned, parents will break reservations.
"They help their children move in their freshman year and count on them to graduate in four years," she said. "For some, it's wishful thinking."
Kay Henry, a senior vice president with KU Alumni Association, said she receives calls each year from bewildered parents looking for a place to stay.
Her advice: First, get a room in a nearby city such as Kansas City, Topeka or Ottawa. As commencement draws near, check with Lawrence motels a second time.
"Some rooms are reserved in blocks," she said. "People don't use them all and release the ones the don't need. Early on it looks really bleak, but as it gets closer it's not so bad."