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Grand Canyon University purchases nearby hotel for hospitality students

PHOENIX — Grand Canyon University has turned a nearby hotel into a capstone experience for students as part of a new hospitality management program.

The program is set to launch this fall under the Colangelo College of Business.

Dr. Randy Gibb, dean of the college, said the degree program will have three major parts: a strong business foundation, core classes in hospitality and a hands-on experience.

For the hands-on portion, GCU purchased the building formerly known as the Quality Inn and Suites at Interstate 17 and Camelback Road. Now the Grand Canyon University Hotel, the 152-room property is undergoing a complete renovation. The university plans to add a 200-seat restaurant, expanded hotel lobby, resort-like pool and a 1000-seat conference center.

“Often it will be filled with GCU-related guests,” Gibb said.

These guests could include visiting athletic teams, commencement guests or even potential students visiting the campus. The hotel will also be open to weddings, conferences and concerts.

Gibb said GCU has hired Brett Cortright as the general manager and acting faculty member of the school’s properties, including a golf course and club house in the West Valley.

“Our plan is to have GCU students in purple shirts learning the business and having amazing service opportunities for people who are our guests,” Gibb said.

Gibb said Phoenix is a bustling city for tourism with its many popular hotels, resorts and restaurants.

“Tourism is a big driver of the local and national economy, so this program just makes sense,” the school’s namesake, Jerry Colangelo, said.

Dr. Gibb said he hopes to have 1,000 students in the program interning at top Valley hotels and resorts within the next four years.