Hospitality students tour on-campus hotel

Hospitality students in professor Gary Gagnon’s HAS 240 class took a tour of the construction site of the new Courtyard Marriot hotel that is scheduled to open on Central Michigan University's campus in July 2016.

The new hotel features ten penthouse suites on the sixth floor, including balconies and meeting rooms overlooking Kelly/Shorts Stadium, a fitness center, indoor pool and hot tub, and a courtyard with a fire pit for guests to use for entertaining.

“I think this is going to be one of the nicer hotels in Mount Pleasant,” said Brooke Morrell, a freshman from Illinois. “Especially for parents to come stay at and visit their kids like the football player’s parents. I know they are always up here for all of the games. It’s a convenient location.”

The tour was led by Mike Postle, vice president of Construction and Project Management for Lodgco Hospitality, a Mount Pleasant based company. Lodging is funding the $15 million project, which will earn CMU $5.25 million over a 30-year span, as part of a leasing contract.

CMU will use the hotel for internships for hospitality students, holding classes and working with CMU catering.

Postle mentioned specific safety features and amenities of the hotel, including spraying pipes with fireproofing foam, building lofts to expand storage availability and the difficulties of event planning in the ballroom, which hospitality students working there will need to explain to guests.

The hotel is about a year behind its scheduled opening date because of various setbacks in the construction process, Postle said. As the indoor pool and hot tub were being built, the contractor received the wrong blueprints and started making a circular hot tub rather than a square one specified in the the original prints.

Michigan Department of Transportation, CMU and the city of Mount Pleasant had a hard time agreeing on who would fund the construction on East Campus drive, Postle said. The university made a partial contribution to its construction. Postle said the road construction was “a project that should have lasted two months ended up taking a year.”

Marriott has changed prototypes for its rooms. When inspectors came to review the progress of the hotel, it was determined that some of the rooms didn’t follow these new guidelines and had to be rebuilt to meet the prototype standards.

“This is all just part of the process,” said Postle.

Aside from the construction issues, hospitality students look forward to taking advantage of opportunities the hotel offers.

“I know a lot of students in my hospitality class are going into all different aspects of the hospitality world and I think this opens up a loft of different job opportunities and experience before they graduate and go out into the real world for their actual jobs,” Morrell said.

Royal Oak junior Bethany Brown also toured the construction site.

“I am most excited about the penthouse floor. It’s gorgeous and the view is absolutely amazing,” she said.

Brown thinks the hotel will be very beneficial to students.

“I think it will be a great tool to get your foot in the door in the hospitality realm since you can be front desk, concierge, just everything that has to do with hospitality you can do it right here.”