The official groundbreaking offered an opportunity to recognize the contributions of donors to the 80-room inn adjacent to the Koury Business Center that will open next fall.
Elon University on Saturday celebrated the generosity of the donors who have lent their support to the Inn at Elon project with a ceremonial groundbreaking for the 80-room hotel.
Earthwork for the project, which is located next to the Koury Business Center, served as the backdrop for the celebration that offered a “thank you” for the 12 individuals and families who have contributed to make the Inn at Elon possible.
“We firmly believe that the Inn at Elon will make a difference — a big difference — and will further advance Elon in its rise to national and, yes, world prominence,” said Elon parent and trustee Mark Mahaffey, who with his wife, Marianne, made the lead gift for the project. “We are so proud of this effort and look forward to the opening of this wonderful facility a year from now.”
An on-campus hotel and conference center is an idea Elon has been considering for close to two decades. The goal is to create a place that will attract alumni, parents and friends who come back for Elon for a wide variety of events including Homecoming, Family Weekend, Commencement, athletics events and performances. Having an inn on campus allows the university to offer nearby lodging for visiting scholars and speakers, prospective students, business recruiters and travelers.
“Today represents the advancement of a very big idea that has been around for some time,” said Jim Piatt, vice president for university advancement, during the ceremony. “It represents inspired leadership, a great strategic plan and strategic thinking, some creative and integrative financing, and most importantly, the generosity of our university community.”
Once complete, the Inn at Elon will offer 10 suites and 70 rooms as well as a restaurant and lounge, ballroom, conference rooms, a fitness room and outdoor gathering spaces. Being able to host higher education conferences on campus represents a big leap forward for Elon, said President Connie Ledoux Book.
“This will position us to be able to share Elon’s story across higher education,” Book said.
The Inn at Elon will be owned by the university and operated by Charlestowne Hotels. Revenue above operating expenses will be used to fund student scholarships, an innovative approach to expanding educational access and a model that adds to the Inn’s appeal, Book said.
“That will give people a real sense of meaning when they stay there and are engaged with the students on this campus,” Book said.