UNLV to Build New Hospitality Hall

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has announced its new Hospitality Hall, a $56 million project which has received $15 million in donations from six gaming giants. Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2015.

While Las Vegas regarded as the global gaming capital, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is naturally regarded as the global capital of gaming education. Instead of resting on their laurels, the university has announced the new, million Hospitality Hall, which will replace the Harrah Hotel College.

Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos, and MGM Resorts International have each recently committed $2.5 million towards the building. In 2010, the Caesars Foundation provided $2.5 million as well, as did Konami and Las Vegas Sands in 2014. The $15 million in gifts will be in addition to the Nevada Legislature appropriating $24.4 million after the recently completed 2015 Legislative Session.

Chairman and CEO of Station Casinos Frank J. Fertitta III said, “Having a world class hospitality facility and program will allow for the further development of the future leaders in the hospitality and gaming industry worldwide.”

“The significance of these gifts for the college and for the overall success of the project cannot be overstated,” said Stowe Shoemaker, dean of the Harrah Hotel College. “The support of industry giants like MGM, Boyd and Station Casinos represents a huge investment in our students and our future standing in the hospitality arena.”

Hospitality Hall will feature over 93,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, and meeting space, with a design that will provide a sense of community and foster an encouraging environment for interaction among students, faculty, and industry professionals.

“The exciting thing about this new Hall is that it bridges the truly pioneering work that the founders of this school did in helping educate the leaders of today, and provides the foundational spirit with a proper laboratory and resources to continue to do this in the 21st century,” said Bo Bernhard, executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.

Shoemaker said the new curriculum will expand to reflect what the hospitality industry has become in terms of the integrated resort in the 21st century. When the school was founded in 1957, Nevada was the only state with legal casinos, and many students learned the ins and outs of the casino business, to find themselves filling roles at casinos on the Strip.

Now, 39 states feature casinos, and they continue to tap UNLV to help supply their workforce. “When they graduate, we want the hospitality industry to look at our students not as employees, but investments,” Shoemaker said. Groundbreaking on Hospitality Hall is anticipated near the end of 2015.