Collins Expansion Plans Taking Shape


Collins Expansion

The highly anticipated building expansion for The Collins College of Hospitality Management will begin construction this summer.

The 12,100 square-foot building is expected to be completed by late 2015 and provide essential space for classrooms, group study rooms, a student commons and faculty offices.

With preparations in full swing, plans for the building have changed because of escalating construction costs and an unfavorable bidding climate stemming from an uptick in construction projects regionally. Bids to construct the privately funded project exceeded its $10 million budget.

“By focusing on essential elements, such as those related to teaching and student success, we have been able to bring the project back into budget, and preserve the timeline for completion,” said Interim Dean and Professor Edward Merritt.  “It’s a difficult decision to scale back the project, but it is the fiscally responsible thing to do.”

Original plans called for an academic building and a student commons building. To keep the college on budget and complete the project by the original timeline, the 3,400-square-foot student commons building was shelved. If future funds are identified, the student commons building could be developed later.  

Student space can be recaptured through relatively simple changes in use of space, Merritt said. For example, one of the three large “flex” classrooms in the academic building could be repurposed into a student commons. This repurposing would not hurt learning at the college, based on student enrollment projections for the next five to seven years.

“It’s normal for there to be unexpected construction expenses. Over the past 60 days we have worked with the architect and contractor to mitigate those conditions,” Merritt said. “When all is said and done, we will have an incredible new facility to expand our nationally renowned programs. And that’s all thanks to some generous donors who believe in us, our mission and our students.”

The expansion project is made possible by $10 million in private pledges from longtime supporters of the college including: Carol and Jim Collins, for whom the college is named; Panda Restaurant Group founders Peggy and Andrew Cherng; The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation; prominent Inland Empire businessman and alumnus Eugene Park, and Richard N. and Mary Alice Frank.

The $10 million funds construction and design costs. Efforts are ongoing to raise additional private donations to supply furniture, fixtures and equipment. Naming opportunities are available. For more information contact Gina Johnson, director of major gifts, at or 909-869-5349.


Lisa McPheron
Director of Communications and External Relations
The Collins College of Hospitality Management 
(909) 869-3151