Hotel Online  Special Report

 UNLV's Hotel School Conceptualizing a New Harrah Hotel College Academic Building, a Hotel, Timeshare
and Conference Facilities


Harrah Hotel College Hospitality Campus
Mission Overview
October 2004


Excitement has been building in the Las Vegas community ever since rumors started swirling in spring 2004 about a new “hospitality campus” being built on the site of the Stan Futon Building. The rumors are indeed true and the first steps are being taken to begin development of a new Harrah Hotel College Academic Building, “state of the art” hotel, timeshare and conference facilities, and, a fine-dining “free standing” restaurant. 

In early March of 2004, an elite team of hotel management students under the direction of R&R Hotel Group was assembled to help gather research for the development’s market study.

A major mandate for the commercial components of this development is that they be able to service their own debt and be able to apply surplus profit to help fund the Harrah Hotel College Academic Building. 

With that mandate in mind the university elected to take steps to develop the above mentioned facilities for the following reasons:

  • The Harrah Hotel College facilities are outdated and not sufficient to meet the future demands of students, faculty and research.
  • UNLV and the Harrah Hotel College in particular, do not have the means to conduct certain forms of research, executive learning programs and distance learning via evolving technologies, or host dignitaries and numerous other university events with present facilities.
  • The Stan Fulton Building was built on a location that renders it only partially functional unless it becomes physically connected to the Harrah Hotel College, adaptively re-used for another purpose, or preferably both.
  • Presently, there is a high degree of demand in Las Vegas for the types of facilities discussed in this summary and it is theoretically possible a well conceived mixed-use development could give the university a source that would generate a strong enough profit stream to fund building a new Harrah Hotel College Academic Building and service debt on new hospitality related facilities.
Why the University Needs These Facilities 

One may wonder why the university needs to build a hotel, conference facility and timeshare on its campus when the Las Vegas Strip is only minutes away for students to use as a learning laboratory. 

The answer is the development under study is not about replacing the learning laboratory the Las Vegas Strip represents. It is about supplementing that laboratory with very specific hospitality facilities that will allow the university to conduct research and learning programs it cannot now pursue. 

Accessibility to facilities that will be designed to showcase technologies not yet on the market and that are interchangeable as new products are developed will have a profound effect on the Harrah College and likely propel them into becoming the preeminent hospitality research institution in the world. 

The Plan Evolves

Since its early inception, the original development plan has evolved into number of exciting directions. Timeshare was recently added to bolster profit streams and a decision was made to move away from building conventional designed and equipped facilities to those that would reflect the face of tomorrow.  Both of these actions will have a positive effect on the development’s bottom line and marketability. The idea of building facilities that house advanced technologies, which could be interchanged and used for a litany of research purposes has struck a cord that has resonated throughout the entire university. The development team correctly surmised what the value of such an undertaking would represent to the development and the university and that by taking such a bold move, UNLV would become a Mecca for those interested in conducting hospitality related technological research.

The development team also recognized that sponsor related product brand placement in strategic commercial facility locations would lead to arrangements with vendors that could allow for substantial savings in overall development costs that are associated with construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment. 

The Concept

As the needs of UNLV to make research a greater priority and the Harrah Hotel College development became intertwined, the idea of creating a “campus within a campus that showcases a hospitality village of tomorrow” began to take on form. 

First and foremost it was established that the facilities of tomorrow would be operated without compromising service or quality standards. The Harrah Hotel College made clear it had no intention of subjecting guests to being treated as guinea pigs in “for-profit” run facilities. On the contrary, they wanted to insure guests would be able to experience all products and amenities normally found in a hotel, conference facility or timeshare. 

One of the core objectives of the “campus within a campus” concept was to create a space at UNLV with its own identity and purpose. To achieve this end the development team decided to embrace a program named “LEED" which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs. This program represents the essence of constructing "cutting-edge" buildings that will represent what the hotel of tomorrow will look like today. Especially important to overall concept is the fact that this development’s design characteristics focus on the interrelationship between buildings and people. The superior design of such structures will differentiate these buildings from all the rest, and will symbolize to the hospitality community at-large a holistic view of how future hotels will be built and operated using advanced technologies. 

Properly executed, the concept of a “campus within a campus that features a hospitality village of tomorrow” will convey to guests, visitors and students alike, they have arrived at truly a special place.


What has unfolded since the original idea of developing a hotel and conference center on campus has the potential of radically re-writing the way the hospitality industry at large and its countless services providers interact with a learning institution. It also has the potential of rapidly accelerating the goals set forth by UNLV’s President Harter of establishing the university as one of America’s premier metropolitan research institutions.

Anna Karner
Publicity Manager
UNLV - Harrah Hotel College
Executive Apprentice Program

Russell Dazzio
Chairman & CEO
R&R Hotel Group

Also See: New Profit Center Potential for Colleges and Universities - the Development of Hotels and Conference Centers on Campus / Pinnacle Advisory Group / July 2001
The University of Denver’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Getting New 45,000 square-foot State-of-the-art Facility / September 2004
Northern Arizona University Considering an On-campus Hotel and Conference Center to Complement its Hospitality Program / July 2004
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Plans to Buy the 278-room University Place Hotel; Plans $12 million Renovation / September 2004
Oklahoma State is One of Only Five Hotel Schools in US with Teaching Hotels on Campus / October 2002
In Partnership with Academia, Shaner Hotel Group Will Build a 120 room Hotel on the Campus of the University of Delaware / May 2001 
Virginia Tech Expands Relationship with Hilton Hotels Corp. to Manage the University's New Hotel, The Inn at Virginia Tech / Sept 2003
Steve Wynn, Si Redd, and Parry Thomas First Inductees Into the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Business' Hall of Fame / Feb 2002
Crowne Plaza and William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada Release Road Warrior Survey Results / Oct 2000

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