By: Sarah Williams
The new Hampton Inn & Suites opened on Kutztown Rd., providing families, sports teams and alumni an alternative to leaving Kutztown for lodging.
Alumni are a huge element for the opening of the hotel because, according to the Alumni Foundation, they own the hotel and provided the $13 million investment for building it.
“We anticipate that with the investment return to be generated by the hotel, we will be able to increase our endowed scholarships by approximately $40,000 each year,” said Ed Richmond, chief financial officer and associate executive director for the Kutztown Foundation.
”The income from the endowment is what’s used to fund scholarships for students at KU… so it’s going to help us grow the endowment beyond what we otherwise would and therefore provide more scholarship money to KU students,” Richmond continued.
The construction of the hotel began last year and took approximately just over one year to complete. and It rests on the property that was the Campus Inn.
“The Hampton Inn & Suites is a brand of Hilton hotels worldwide and, just a couple years ago, they redesigned what Hampton Inn prototype should look like, and Kutztown’s is the first one of the new prototype open in the country,” said Richmond.
Homecoming was a busy weekend for the newly opened Hampton. “The Alumni Foundation really helps us promote the hotel and let people know about it. We didn’t sell out friday night, but I believe we sold out Saturday night, the day of the game,” said Heather Zimmerman, director of sales at the Hampton.
“It was a great time to check out the hotel over homecoming and have the opportunity to stay right here in Kutztown,” said KU Alumni Garrett Alread.
This is an advancement for the town of Kutztown, since the only lodging options were either small ones or in surrounding towns and cities. For example, “the [Main Street Inn] bed and breakfast, but that’s only eight rooms. The other choices in the area were not too appealing,” said Richmond There is also the Lincoln on Main St. or places in the Fogelsville/Breinigsville area.
“Business is ahead of what we budgeted or what we forecasted. We opened on Sept. 11, and we started off really busy. October was a super busy month. We were busy with groups from the University, like teams that came for different sporting events…during the week we have more corporate business, so it’s been a good mixture of a lot,” said Zimmerman.
The collaboration with businesses in Kutztown will be a benefit for many townspeople. The hotel also opened 22 job opportunities for people in surrounding areas.
“I don’t think any of us have worked for Hilton before, myself included. I worked in hotels for 28 years but never for Hilton. We have some students, some graduates and some people who just live locally,” said Zimmerman.
Their grand opening had many alumni, townspeople and KU Foundation members join. “We have 100 rooms. We have an indoor pool, a fitness room, meeting rooms, an outdoor patio with a fireplace and we’re the only branded hotel in Kutztown,” said Zimmerman.
“The most important thing is why we built the hotel, and then you know by staying at this hotel you’re helping to create scholarships for Kutztown students,” said Richmond.