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Students live and learn at the Hotel

By Jennae Jungers
On April 4, 2016

  The Hotel at Kirkwood Center is a learning hotel for students who are interested in a business management, cooking or baking career. The hotel opened in 2010, according to General Manager Lee Belfield. He said it offers students the ability to work hands on with material and clients that will benefit them in their future career.

Belfield said the most important thing a student can take from going through the programs at the hotel is that students have the opportunity to work in real life situation but it’s also a more controlled area. He added that students do go work in externships but it is not the same type of experience as the controlled internship the hotel has to offer. Belfield said the main purpose for the hotel is “first and foremost it is always a teaching institution.” The Hotel is also the location for The Class Act restaurant.

Prior to the construction of The Hotel, the restaurant was used as a laboratory for culinary students but did not offer much assistance for students going into business management, according to Belfield. He said he then proposed the idea of the hotel to his boss who took the idea to the current president, Mick Starcevich, who ran with the proposal to create the hotel.

The Hotel contains many aspects that make it a four diamond hotel. For instance, it is a green hotel, which is where the industry is going, according to Belfield. The lobby at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center features a fireplace, modern furniture and a bar. “Being in front of the furnace, it’s mesmerizing and addicting, getting to do it is my favorite part.” Melissa Eaton Glass Blowing Student Glass blowing student Denny Fiser works on a project during class at Kirkwood Community College.

He stated the size of the hotel fell logically in the boutique segment with the idea to build in the way the industry is going and to be more efficient. The atmosphere of the hotel is to be hip, urban and trendy, said Belfield. He said the best experience managing the hotel has been walking around the building to see the staff and their interaction with guests.

Belfield also said that on Tripadvisory, though not all ratings were one-hundred percent, there is not a single negative review. The Hotel is open to the public and gives students a controlled environment with the opportunity to work hands on within their area of study. According to Belfield, 40 - 50 weddings are held at the hotel yearly and many guests are transients, independent business transients or part of a group.

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