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Coming soon: more room at the inn

The Rogue Regency embarks on expansion

With permits and financing in hand, the Rogue Regency Inn plans to break ground Monday on a $6 million expansion that will add 79 rooms.

The hotel at 2345 Crater Lake Highway in Medford also will upgrade its 123 rooms and make other changes.

The biggest change will be a four-story, 79-room addition at the west end of the existing building, on the end closest to Biddle Road. The general contractor is S.D. Deacon Corp. of Medford, and the project should be completed by June of next year.

As we have been looking at this project, we have kept records of our turnaways (of potential guests) and what rooms we could be filling for more than five years, said Scott McCollum of Medford, a co-owner of the family-owned inn since 1993. So we definitely have a need for them here.

The expansion has been in the works for a couple of years, and the inn obtained city permits earlier this year. In addition to the new guest rooms, the expansion will:

— Add two-line telephone systems in every room to allow users of laptop — computers to hook up to modems. — — Add a business center, with guest access to computers, fax machines — and photocopiers. — — — — — — Convert rooms on an existing floor and add furnishings such as — reclining chairs and 32-inch television sets to create a club — floor. — —

The plans were designed by the Portland architectural firm of Van Lom and Co.

Although McCollum had announced last spring that the expansion would include a convention center, capable of seating 550, he said that work will not be done now. As far as creating new meeting space, we are not. We are just improving what we have.

The proposed convention-center addition would have put the Rogue Regency in competition with other hotels -- the Red Lion Hotel and Reston Hotel in Medford, and the Windmill Inn of Ashland -- whose largest spaces can accommodate 800 to 900 people.

Scott McCollum is president and director of operations for the inn, which he, his sister Julie, and their father, Melvin, acquired as a partnership in 1993. It opened as a Quality Inn in 1990. A lot of thought has gone into scheduling the changes to keep any inconveniences to a minimum, Julie McCollum said.

The family has been in Southern Oregon for more than a century, having been involved in blacksmithing, logging, milling, ranching and other businesses.

Guests check in at the registration desk as others relax in the lobby of the Rogue Regency Inn, a locally owned hotel on Highway 62 in north Medford. The owners plan to enlarge and remodel the inn. - Photo by Bob Pennell