News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Ellen Sweets, The Denver Post
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jun. 9, 2003 - Johnson & Wales University on July 30 will complete the long-planned acquisition of six buildings on its Park Hill campus that it does not already own.
And university president Mark Burke said the culinary and hospitality school's student body has grown so quickly that officials are also negotiating for property in the nearby Stapleton redevelopment neighborhood.
"Our original business plan only anticipated 500 (students) in five years, and we were at 1,000 after three," Burke said. "The only thing holding our growth back now is facilities. Our major concern is residence halls. We have students from 46 states, and we require freshmen to live on campus."
In 1999, Johnson & Wales acquired the east half of the 26-acre Park Hill campus from the University of Denver and had an option to purchase the remainder. The campus was once Colorado Women's College.
In 2000, 500 students were enrolled. By the start of the 2002-03 school year, the student body had grown to 1,000, and university officials expect an additional 300 to enroll in September.
The six new buildings will create room for residence halls and academic and event space, Burke said.
The Lowell Thomas building will become the Johnson & Wales College of Business, the chapel will become a convocation center, and the recently renovated amphitheater is expected to be used for community concerts and special events, in addition to graduation ceremonies.
The university also plans to renovate Treat Hall to create a 55-room training hotel, "along the lines of the Oxford Hotel, with a full-service restaurant," Burke said.
Treat Hall was built in 1890 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
"It will add to our brand, to our reputation for being one of the premier universities of its kind," Burke said of the hotel project. "None of this would have been possible without the support of Peter Coors, who is heading a campaign to raise tens of millions dollars" for the university.
Burke said Coors and Sage Hospitality Resources president Walter Isenberg have been invaluable in their work to expand the campus.
Isenberg is chairman of the Treat Hall restoration campaign. His company, which specializes in the restoration and conversion of old buildings, converted downtown Denver's Joslins department store into the Courtyard Marriott complex on the 16th Street Mall.
"When Johnson & Wales came to Denver, we were very impressed by their plans and what they were doing," Isenberg said.
"Our recruiting director told us about this beautiful building on campus, and we went out to talk to Mark Burke about it and they asked us to chair the capital campaign."
Work on Treat Hall is expected to start next year. The hotel is likely to open sometime in 2006, Isenberg said.
Johnson & Wales occupies a Park Hill campus that once was home to three University of Denver entities: the women's college, the DU Law School and the Lamont School of Music.
Colorado Women's College left the campus in the fall of 2001.
In September 2002, the Lamont School of Music moved into its new building on DU's southeast Denver campus, and the women's college broke ground recently on its new facility, which will be the Merle Catherine Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women, DU spokesman Warren Smith said.
"This will reunite all of our academic programs on the university campus," Smith said.
The Chambers Center should open on DU's main campus in summer of 2004.
Johnson & Wales has six campuses, including the 26-acre Denver site. The others are in Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Sweden.
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(c) 2003, The Denver Post. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.