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The SpringHill Suites by Marriott ispart of Metropolitan State University of Denver's Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (HLC).

The hotel, managed by Denver-based Sage Hospitality, has 150 rooms on six floors and 5,000-square-feet of meeting space. The HLC will be ready for classes when the fall semester starts on August 20th.

The SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State-that's its formal name-will provide a learning opportunity for MSU Denver students in the Hospitality, Tourism and Events (HTE) Department. More than 60 of the hotel's 80 or so employees will be students. They'll get hands-on experience in hotel operations, from front desk management, to housekeeping, to food service-"every position," says Chad Gruhl, chair-elect and associate professor in the HTE Department.

"It's all about education," he says.

The walls of the HLC and the SpringHill Suites feature creative works by MSU Denver faculty, students and alumni. It is an eclectic collection of drawings, paintings, wall sculpture, photographs and mixed-media images.

"It represents Metro State's past, present and future," says Deanne Pytlinski, assistant chair of the Department of Art, noting the generational diversity of the artists.

On the backside of the hotel are state-of-the-art classrooms, including a sensory analysis lab where the tables light up so you can see the clarity of a wine, and an air purification system that circulates the air to ensure a clear palate.

No taxpayer money is being used to pay for the $45 million dollar learning center. Private donations from Marriott and Sage really helped geteverything done.