New hotel on campus staffed by students, alumni, hosts ribbon cutting
A six-story hotel staffed by Central Michigan University alumni and students was officially inducted into the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce Aug. 16 — a month after it housed its first guests.
“Several of us, including our entire sales staff, are CMU alumni,” said the hotel's director of sales, Tamera Reder. “We’re all very proud of our hotel, as you can see from the 'flying C' near the main entrance.”
The Courtyard Mt. Pleasant at Central Michigan University located on CMU’s campus officially opened July 13. About half of the Marriott’s staff positions have been filled by hospitality students, said General Manager Rick Rautanen. The hotel contains a meeting room that will also serve as classroom space for the hospitality program.
“This is a great opportunity (for students) to work in a living, breathing hotel while going to class,” Rautanen said.
The day the hotel opened its doors, 12 rooms were booked. The $15 million project was funded by Lodgco Hospitality, a Mount Pleasant-based company. CMU is leasing the land to Lodgco on a 30-year contract, which will earn the university $5.25 million.
A ribbon cutting ceremony event was hosted at the hotel today by the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce in the hotel's conference room. Refreshments and Hors d'Oeuvres were provided to guests and the room included three dropdown projection screens displaying photos of past events on campus and around the Mount Pleasant area.
To begin the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Daniel Jackson performed an honors song to support economic development in the central Michigan area and showcase the continued collaboration between the tribe and the university.
Before cutting the ribbon, Rautanen spoke about the construction of the hotel and recognized members of his staff and other companies who contributed.
“This project has been the result of the tireless efforts of men,” Rautanen said. “Like a great idea needs a driver, it also needs an engine and we appreciate the confidence of our owners to finance this project.”
Event management, accounting and marketing were other majors Rautanen said he thought could be eventually involved in working at the hotel for hands-on experience relating to their major.
"We want to see how many disciplines can benefit from this," he said.