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—Sarah Boyum

Changing Courses

Johnson & Wales unveils its $17 million renovation of a 99-year-old National Historic Landmark.

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Johnson & Wales University has a reputation for being a party school. That’s not to say its keggers are epic (though they might be—we just haven’t been invited). Rather, the national university with four locations (including Denver) is known for producing students who know how to throw a good bash: namely, hospitality workers. But like most reps earned at college, this one’s a little misleading. “We’re not just a culinary school, as often we’re referred to,” says spokeswoman Holli Keyser. Over the past two years, JWU has rolled out a slew of nonhospitality degrees, such as an MBA program, with more on the way. To show it’s serious about the new studies, the northeast Denver JWU campus will house many of these programs in the recently renovated Centennial Hall. Previously known as Treat Hall, the 99-year-old building is a National Historic Landmark. JWU poured more than $17 million from a bond package into remaking Treat, constructing offices and classrooms for its new urban studies and media and communication programs while also preserving the building’s two-story great hall as a state-of-the-art auditorium. The redubbed Centennial Hall and Founders Hall—a residence hall that received a $15 million revamp—debut to the school’s 1,500 students this fall. JWU will host a grand-opening gala on October 6, proving that however studious it becomes, the school will never forget how to party.

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