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New hotel project moving forward
16 May 2005

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes Technical College is moving forward with plans for a new hotel in Bismarck-Mandan. College officials provided a progress report today about plans for a full service hotel, with associated meeting/ conference center, that will also serve to train college students for jobs in the hospitality industry.

      "We're moving forward on this project," said Barbara Schmitt, Director of the United Tribes University Center and chairperson of the college's hotel advisory committee. "After one year of planning, the hotel project is very much alive and well."

UTTC President David M. Gipp
United Tribes Technical College President David M. Gipp thanked Bismarck Mayor John Warford (left) and the city for allowing United Tribes to examine a site near the Bismarck Civic Center for a new hotel and conference center.

      Planning began with a feasibility study in 2004, which concluded that demand is sufficient in the local market to support development of a new hotel.

      The study examined information and data from sources in the market and community growth trends and patterns.

      As envisioned, the project will be a 250-room hotel with 30,000 square feet of space for meeting and conference facilities. Three sites remain under consideration: a location on the United Tribes campus, a site on city property near the Bismarck Civic Center, and an undisclosed site in private ownership.

      "We believe that the Bismarck/Mandan market is continuing to grow and will sustain additional properties," said Schmitt. "We're grateful to the City of Bismarck for the opportunity to examine further development at the Civic Center site."

      Bismarck Mayor John Warford joined UTTC officials for release of the progress report.

      "I'm very excited about the possibility of UTTC building a new hotel in the city," said Warford. "It's a great fit for UTTC's programs and would be a welcome addition to our growing city. We look forward to working with UTTC as they complete their study and finalize a site."

      According to planning estimates, when completed and operating, the new facility would have 129 full time employees and generate an annual impact of $16 million, including the creation of 100 "induced jobs" in other businesses. City sales tax revenue is estimated at $1.1 million annually during operations.

      "It's our vision to create a top quality hotel to serve our community," said UTTC President David M. Gipp. "We also see this as an opportunity for education."

      In the setting of a working hotel and conference center, college planners hope to fashion a "real-world" lab to train students for the hospitality industry - everything from front desk operations to maintenance, event planning, finance, food and nutrition, and the culinary arts. UTTC has approached Bismarck State College and University of Mary to assess their interest in an educational partnership.

      "Hospitality certainly fits our mission to provide relevant vocational education and training," said Gipp. "Our students can become the trained workforce at reservation-based hospitality organizations, like the casinos, or anywhere they choose to go. A training hotel could benefit the other colleges as well. We believe it would be the first of its kind in the region."

      According to Schmitt, the hotel advisory committee is currently working on its business plan and details for investors. On the committee are representatives of the five tribes that govern the college: the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Spirit Lake Nation, Three Affiliated Tribes, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.


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