Renovations at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center are underway as the construction and design teams work toward a premier hotel status for the region.
The on-going project began on January 16, 2017. The ribbon cutting for the front entrance addition of a Porte Cochere will be June 7 at 8 a.m. Construction of the conference center will continue through November.
Construction has taken place in Ariccia Trattoria, the in-house Italian restaurant, the front entrance and conference center. All renovations are being funded by Auburn University. The board approved budget for the project is $1.2 million and was approved on February 5, 2016.
Todd Scholl, direct of sales and marketing, said the advancements were greatly needed as the only other facility larger than the current conference center was the Auburn Arena.
Scholl said the addition of the Porte Cochere will provide guests a shelter from the weather as they pull up to the hotel for baggage unload.
Scholl said the hotel plans to offer valet parking to guests eventually and having the Porte Cochere makes this possible. This will allow dinner guests to pull up directly for dinner without the worry of finding parking around the area.
"This addition will help us gain traction toward achieving the AAA Four Diamond designation which will assist the hotel in garnering new business," Scholl said.
Scholl said The Hotel serves as "the front door to Auburn" and the advancements being added will create an excellent first impression. He said the new canopy in the front drive will consist of enhanced lighting, heaters and fans. The Porte Cochere is glass and allows natural light to enter the lobby. Continuing with the look and theme of the hotel, underfoot lies traditional pavers to tie in the new additions with the current style.
The Dixon Conference Center will be receiving an intensive makeover. Scholl said the previous decor was old-fashioned and outdated. He said the new look will be fresh, revived and is well past due. The new ballroom will be gaining about 150 seats, bringing the total capacity to 600 for seated functions.
The expansion will include the addition of a connection between ballrooms allowing for easy access and utilization of the given space. Scholl said each conference will be equipped with electronic displays at their entrances for information about events and locations.
"The design theme is clean and elegant with muted ones and elegant light installations, built in break stations, as well as functional pre-function seating so attendees can relax during their programs," Scholl said.
While renovations are taking place, the hotel has set up a Marquee in the side parking lot for guests and events during the six-month construction closure. The Marquee has four rooms. The entire structure is air conditioned, receives natural lighting, has hardwood floors, chandeliers and boxwood hallways. There is a covered drop-off area for attending guests.
Scholl said it was recently used to host the Memorial Day Mayor's Breakfast and welcomed 250 patrons.