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Now a second new Iowa government hotel

August 17, 2010
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
Kirkwood Community College at Cedar Rapids has opened its hotel- The Hotel at Kirkwood Center.

Yes, the junior college there now has a hotel. And convention center.

It will be used as a “training ground” for students attending Kirkwood who are enrolled in food and hospitality areas.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette noted in an editorial published on Aug. 10 the Kirkwood facility “is the largest teaching facility of its kind at a community college.”

It should be.

It cost $31 million.

There are 71 rooms plus the convention center. And, hopefully classrooms?

Based upon rooms alone, the construction cost would be $436,620 per room.

I could have saved Iowa taxpayers $31 million and readers of this page can already guess how.

Why wasn’t this training program established at the Iowa government-owned Honey Creek Resort boondoggle at Lake Rathbun?

Or at the University of Iowa Memorial Union Hotel in Iowa City which they are either considering shutting down or already have closed?

The Gazette notes, “It will be a convenient facility for the Kirkwood community providing access and shuttle service to the Kirkwood Recreation Center.

Good. Maybe not knowing the Kirkwood community and Recreation Center existed, we should be relieved a $31 million hotel-convention center will provide this.

Once more, what is our government doing competing with private business?

The Gazette says the travel industry is still struggling to recover from the economic recession. The editorial maintains The Hotel at Kirkwood Center will boost hotel business in the area.

Yeah, tell that to the independent hotel operator paying the freight in property taxes to build government-run competition.

Of course the true value of the program is the measured success of providing education. This measure must be made from the initial $31 million building investment and ongoing expenses combined with educational faculty salaries, maintainence and, if it can be gauged - the benefit or harm to the hotel industry.

-J. Speer
 
 

 

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