Metropolitan State College of Denver and its project team, Mortenson Construction and project architect RNL, recently topped off the new Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (HLC) on the school’s campus. The topping off took place on September 23.
The HLC, located at the corner of Auraria Parkway and Speer Boulevard at the edge of downtown Denver, will feature a 150-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott, 28,000 sq ft of academic space within the HLC and 5,000 sq ft of meeting and conference space. Sage Hospitality will manage the hotel.
The nearly seamless melding of academic instruction, interactive laboratories and real-world experience within the hotel will allow the College to offer an experiential curriculum for its diverse undergraduate student population, as well as current professionals seeking continuing education.
The project will be one of less than a dozen similar experiential programs known nationally. It has been made possible through a private-public partnership—no taxpayer dollars will be used. A special purpose corporation was formed for the HLC and provides for its financing, construction, operation and management. The operating proceeds will flow to the Metro State Foundation for scholarships and academic program support. Site preparation began in January 2011 and the opening is planned for August 2012.
“The topping-off of the HLC marks an important milestone for this unique project which will provide a real-life learning experience to students of Metro State’s outstanding Hospitality, Tourism and Events Department,” said Bob Hansen, vice president of Mortenson Construction.
RNL’s Richard T. Anderson, principal and project director, added, “This important milestone brings the project one step closer to reality. I look forward to seeing students, faculty, hotel guests and business leaders learning from one another and interacting in Metro’s state-of-the-art education facility and hotel in less than a year.”