Kirkwood CC debuting new teaching hotel facility - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Kirkwood CC debuting new teaching hotel facility

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- Kirkwood Community College will soon unveil a new unique $30 million addition.  The Hotel at Kirkwood Center will train students to work in culinary arts, hotel management, and related fields.  Hotel staff and college leaders alike believe that this new four-story facility will rearrange concepts in higher education in the U.S. and beyond.

The college says the facility is designed as much for the student experience as college and public guest options. It is built as a learning-laboratory for students to be better prepared when they enter the professional hospitality industry.

The team of hospitality professionals at the hotel have balanced their chosen professions of hotel management, guest relations and culinary arts with other, equally important roles: teachers and mentors. Their daily work is a demonstration to complement the classroom and lab projects for students in Kirkwood's five Hospitality Arts courses.

In the late summer of 2010, the hotel opened and welcomes guests on a daily basis. With a professional staff of about 70, the staff is a bit larger than some 71-room inns found in the private sector. That is by design, according to Hotel General Manager Lee Belfield.

"As we researched and developed the idea of this teaching hotel, I quickly realized that we needed to have people who embraced the idea of learning while working, imparting those skills and that wisdom every day. In my own experience over the years that was the case—and still is, as we work together building this new hotel. I can feel that spirit growing already," Belfield said.

The hotel also boasts many energy-efficiency features. For example, unoccupied guest rooms are put into a "dormant" mode, using less electricity. When a new guest is registered the room will re-activate.

Reservations and rates are available on the hotel's website. 

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