An artist’s rendering of the Hilton Garden Inn expected to open in summer 2016 next to the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. Photo courtesy of Hospitality Asset Management Company
New Hotel Highlights IUP’s Economic Impact
The business of a university is more than the business of education. Two recent developments speak to the powerful influence IUP has on community well-being, apart from the awarding of degrees.
Conducted by accounting firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, a recent economic impact study concluded that the 14 universities of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education have a $6.7-billion impact on the commonwealth. IUP has a total impact of $636,938,964 on Pennsylvania’s economic well-being.
The study examined expenditures under the headings of institutional, faculty and staff employment, student, and capital, in addition to other factors, and concluded that every dollar invested in IUP through commonwealth appropriations yields a return of $12.16 in total impact.
The average impact of the 14 State System universities is $310.2 million, with 4,400 external jobs supported. The other universities in the System are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Slippery Rock, Shippensburg, and West Chester.
On the heels of the study’s release, IUP announced that a new hotel would be constructed next to the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex along Wayne Avenue.
The construction site, just west of Wayne Avenue, as it appeared in June. Photo: Keith Boyer
Ground was broken at the end of April for the six-story, 128-room Hilton Garden Inn. It will have a full-service restaurant and meeting and reception space that complements what already is offered at the Kovalchick Complex. A private enterprise, the hotel is being developed by Fiore Brothers Management, of Altoona, and Hospitality Asset Management Company, of State College.
Emblematic of a portion of the university’s new strategic plan, specifically Goal 4 (strengthen IUP’s value to local, state, and global partners), the addition of the hotel is a boon to Indiana, according to Cornelius Wooten, IUP’s vice president for Administration and Finance. It’s the kind of activity that helps keep the area’s economy healthy, thereby making a more attractive environment for new students while enhancing what alumni recall as a nice community.
Cornelius Wooten, IUP’s vice president for Administration and Finance, spoke at the groundbreaking in April. Photo: Keith Boyer
“We expect the hotel will increase the Kovalchick Complex’s conference business by more than 15 percent,” Wooten said. “The addition of this hotel certainly could attract more businesses to the Wayne Avenue corridor.”
The hotel will open in summer 2016. In 2013-14, the Kovalchick Complex hosted 407 events attended by 167,000 patrons, including guests at IUP’s commencement ceremonies, Homecoming, basketball and volleyball games, concerts, and trade shows.
Wooten said the $17-million construction project itself creates an economic impact. And after opening, the hotel will generate roughly 50 new jobs.
“IUP is an important institution within the State System, but we are a really good neighbor locally,” Wooten said. “We are, in fact, a great economic driver with many resources that help the community, and we are the largest employer in Indiana County. That makes us a significant player and strong partner in the region.”
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