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School of Hospitality Administration dedicates new home

$6 million building offers hotel-like atmosphere

President emeritus Aram Chobanian, President Robert Brown, SHA Dean James Stamas, and President Emeritus Jon Westling, from left, flank a dedication plaque for the new classroom building. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

In the 25 years since the School of Hospitality Administration began as a program within Metropolitan College, it has grown into a separate school, and starting this semester, it has a new home. On Tuesday, September 27, about a decade after becoming its own school, at 808 Commonwealth Ave., SHA dedicated a new state-of-the-art, 27,000-square-foot classroom building complete with library, auditorium, career services office, and computer center.

“Today completes a dream that began four and a half years ago — to create a school that looked as good as our students,” said SHA Dean James Stamas. “If you could have seen the students’ faces when they came here in the fall, you’d have seen it was all worth it.”  

The three-story building at 928 Commonwealth Ave. can accommodate 420 students. With approximately 370 students enrolled for the fall semester, including 64 freshmen, the facility provides room for growth. The first floor houses the reception area, a spacious lounge, a computer lab, and an auditorium. Classrooms, two study lounges, and rooms for group projects occupy most of the second floor, and administrative and faculty offices are housed on the third floor.

President Robert Brown attended the dedication ceremony along with Presidents Emeriti Aram Chobanian and Jon Westling, 13 deans, and approximately 100 guests, including alumni and other supporters, who donated $3.7 million towards the $6 million project.

SHA has earned a reputation as a leader in the hospitality industry, graduating more than 1,000 students, who have gone on to assume leadership positions in hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, airlines, and theme parks.

“This building we stand in represents another step in the school’s development,” said Brown. “SHA now has a building that benefits the quality of the students who graduate from the program.”

“And we have high expectations for the future,” he continued. “The hospitality industry is continuing to expand, and there is a need for professional heads of industry. SHA is well positioned for this.”

SHA faculty and staff believe that the building itself can help prepare students for careers in the industry. “The new building has a real hotel flair to it,” says Brian Shockley, SHA’s director of administration. “We wanted to give students an atmosphere that they will be working in eventually. This building is unlike any other on campus.”

Students have already made themselves at home in the new building since beginning classes there on September 5. They are relishing the well-appointed style, functionality, and wide-open space of their new school, Shockley says.  

“The new building is wonderful. It’s so well designed and is such an upgrade from our old building,” says Maggie Blackaby (SHA’07). “It’s nice to have our own building because it makes us feel like a legitimate school. No one knew where our old school was, and now we have a new building with our name on the front.”

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