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Hospitality (6)


 “We didn’t want taxes or students to pay for the structure, so our only option was to increase the revenue from room occupancy,” explains Belfield.

Planners built a comprehensive financial model based on national comparisons and determined that The Hotel needed at least 60 to 65 rooms for the plan to work. Architectural design offered the exact number of 71 — 65 guest rooms and six suites filling the upper three floors of the $30 million facility.

The entire project has been funded through revenue bonds, which are not tax supported, and will be paid back through the operations and cash flow of the hotel and conference center.

Occupancy numbers have been high since the July 2010 opening, and The Hotel at Kirkwood Center is expected to break even by fiscal year 2013.

The revamped Hospitality Arts department now trains some 350 students annually in five programs leading to two-year degrees (hotel management, restaurant management, culinary arts) and one-year diplomas (bakery, and food service assistant).

Classroom instruction — on topics ranging from sanitation and safety to nutrition and menu planning to risk management and legal issues to cost control and accounting — is leveraged with boots-on-the-ground hospitality delivery.

“We wanted students to experience the pleasure of giving pleasure to others,” says Belfield. “You can teach practical skills in a lot of ways, but it takes something unique to show students the art of giving pleasure.”

online extras 

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center was built using regional materials — including native black walnut and sandstone quarried in nearby Stone City — and artwork produced by students, faculty, alums, and area artisans. More than 300 photographs, paintings, sculptures, and textiles grace guest rooms, common areas, and meeting spaces.

Artist Henry Royer’s stainless steel, copper, and granite sculpture (Untitled) is one piece of a sizeable art collection putting a regional stamp on the hotel and enhancing the guest experience.

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