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Oklahoma State is One of Only Five Hotel Schools
in US with Teaching Hotels on Campus
By Mary Ellen Botter, The Dallas Morning News
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News 

Oct. 21--STILLWATER, Okla.–Call it reality education. And the winning tribe is: travelers hunting for value. 

Oklahoma State University's School of Hotel and Restaurant Management operates a hotel and two restaurants where students work for grades and the public can receive A-plus treatment in above-average surroundings at moderate prices. 

The Atherton Hotel, on campus in the Georgian-style Student Union building, offers 78 rooms and three suites – usually booked solid for football weekends and campus celebrations such as homecoming. 

Oklahoma State's is one of only five hotel schools nationwide with their own teaching hotels on campus, according to Jim Barnard, the Atherton's general manager. 

Lodgings of the other schools are: 

  • Hilton University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun St., 713-741-2447; 
  • Statler Hotel, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; 1-800-541-2501; 
  • The Inn at NAU, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, 928-523-1616; 
  • Johnson & Wales Inn, Seekonk, Mass. (1-800-232-1772;, affiliated with Johnson and Wales University. The school's other teaching hotel is the Radisson Airport Hotel in Warwick, R.I., 401-739-3000; 
Although the Atherton has full-time housekeeping and maintenance staffs, students perform many jobs at the hotel. 
"People may need to be patient," says Monica Casey, the hotel's financial assistant. "The students are learning. The public can feel like they're helping to teach." 

Renovation of the Atherton's rooms, now pin-neat but undeniably dated, will begin this autumn and be completed next August. Clean but unremarkable furnishings, plain walls and fluorescent lighting will be replaced by cocoons of deluxe bedding and furniture, tasteful wallpaper and easy-on-the-eye lighting. 

The Atherton Hotel at OSU is not just
a hotel but a teaching laboratory where
students in the School of Hotel &
Restaurant Administration experience
"hands on training."
Touches of orange-crazy OSU's favorite color will be integrated into the sophisticated new look. 

Prices, now about $70 on weekdays ($99 on football weekends), are expected to rise to the mid-$80s, says Mr. Barnard. 

Amenities include toiletries from Bath & Body Works, coffeemakers, free continental breakfast, hairdryers, cable television, computer services, and views over the campus' formal garden and Theta Pond. 

The Atherton is nonsmoking, and rooms on the third and fourth floors have direct access to the Student Union, a maze of shops, cafes and services available to the public. 

The hotel is within walking distance of Lewis Stadium (football), Gallagher-Iba Athletic Center (basketball and wrestling) and Reynolds Stadium (baseball). 

Campus visitors or hotel guests wanting a modestly priced lunch in a serene setting can eat at the State Room Restaurant next to the Atherton or at Taylor's Dining Room, across campus in the Human Environmental Sciences Building. Students constitute wait staff and most kitchen workers at both. 

At the State Room, where entrees cost $7 or less, white linens cover tables spaced to allow quiet conversations. Enlarged historic photos of the school decorate the walls. And Pistol Pete's Pecan Ball, named after the school's mascot, is a favorite finisher. The scoop of vanilla ice cream rolled in nuts and drizzled with caramel and chocolate commands a low – but not low-calorie – price of $3. 

IF YOU GO The Atherton Hotel at OSU, University Avenue at Hester Street; 405-744-6835 or 405-744-5220 (voice mail); hotel. 

State Room Restaurant, Student Union, University Avenue at Hester Street; 405-744-5220. Open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 

Taylor's Dining Room, 210 Human Environmental Sciences Building, Monroe Street at Drummond Lane; 405-744-6713;, click Taylor's Dining Room. Open from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. 

-----To see more of The Dallas Morning News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

(c) 2002, The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. 


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