Published: Jan. 21, 2011

Board approves plans for Culinary Business Learning Lab

Contact(s): Lena Loeffler The School of Hospitality Business office: (517) 353-9211

Students in the School of Hospitality Business will soon learn in state-of-the-art facilities, with the Board of Trustees approving plans to proceed with renovations to update its Culinary Business Learning Lab, a project totaling $4 million.
At its December meeting the board approved the school’s plans to create a revitalized demonstration theater, teaching kitchens, dining room and a new entry, which will include an alumni “Hall of Fame.”  The current facilities, located on the garden level of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, have served the school for more than 20 years as the site for several of its food and beverage operations and management classes and as host to a variety of groups and events.  
Ron Cichy, director and professor, said that the new space will “honor our past, but look to a 21st century future.”

“The new Culinary Business Lab will invigorate and expand our students’ experiences and capabilities,” said Allan Sherwin, professor of culinary business and chef. “And even more than before, companies will use the school as the place for executive education.”
A $2 million grant from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation will fund half of the project. More than $1 million has been received or pledged from individuals and other organizations and more than $350,000 “in-kind” donations have been pledged or are under consideration.  With additional investments and grants totaling $765,000, the school has begun demolition of the existing space and will begin construction in February. The project is expected to be completed by the start of Fall 2011 semester.
Mike Rice, project manager and alumnus, said that the update is critical for the education of today’s hospitality business students – tomorrow’s leaders in the global hospitality industry.  “We’ve got to keep up with the times,” he said. “It’s important both for the students for their learning and important for the customers we serve.”