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Boone Tavern Hotel to Close Temporarily

To allow for the next phase of the ongoing “green” renovation of Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea, Ky., the hotel will begin providing limited services before fully closing in December.

To allow for the next phase of the ongoing “green” renovation of Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea, Ky., the Hotel will begin providing limited services before fully closing in December.

Guest rooms in the historic hotel, owned by Berea College, will be closed beginning November 1 through mid-February 2009. The Boone Tavern Dining Room will serve meals at lunch time on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from November 1 through December 15, and then close until February 15. All currently booked catering events (banquets, wedding receptions, etc.) will be accommodated in November and through December 15. The newly renovated hotel and dining room both will re-open fully in Spring of 2009, to coincide with Boone Tavern’s 100th anniversary.

At this stage in the renovation process, Berea College Board of Trustees, administration, and the contractors determined that the most efficient and practical way to complete our extensive renovation work is to temporarily close the Tavern. "During the early phases of the renovation, work continued with very little disruption to our guests," said Gary McCormick, General Manager of Boone Tavern. "We are confident that guests will be pleased with the outcome and we are looking forward to our grand reopening and the 100th Year Anniversary Celebration 2009."

During this period of closing, work will include demolition and reconstruction of second and third floor guest rooms, installation of new public restrooms on the first floor, upgrades to the dining room, renovation of the Lincoln Parlor and lobby, front desk area, construction of a two-story portico, and guest entrance on the east side of the building. The closing will require a brief layoff of full-time staff who are expected to be recalled before the Hotel reopens to ready it for guests. The Berea College students who work as wait-staff in the dining room and elsewhere in the hotel, will be reassigned temporarily to other campus departments. All Berea College students receive a tuition-free education and are required to work 10-15 hours per week in the College Labor Program to earn money for room, board, and books.

The $9.6 million, eco-friendly renovation of historic Boone Tavern Hotel began January 15, 2008. The project will preserve and enhance the historic character of Boone Tavern and provide amenities today’s travelers expect. The “green” renovation is designed to earn for Boone Tavern the distinction of being the first LEED- certified hotel in Kentucky. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council. After the renovation, the on-going operations of the hotel will be eco-friendly as well. Earlier this year, the hotel was briefly closed to allow for demolition and significant upgrades to the building’s infrastructure, including a new, state-of-the-art kitchen and a new guest elevator in the lobby.

The renovation and continued use of Boone Tavern Hotel, which is being paid for in part by College funds, donor contributions, and proceeds from operations, is viewed by Berea College Trustees as an important contribution to the economic sustainability of the College Square as well as an economic enhancement to the whole City of Berea. The environmentally focused renovation is consistent with the historical values of Berea College, in preserving Appalachian cultural and natural resources, and its contemporary commitment to sustainability.

From its beginning in 1855, the College’s distinctive commitment to interracial and co-educational opportunities for Appalachian youth attracted people to visit Berea. In the early 1900’s, after hosting more than 300 hundred visitors in her home in one year, Nellie Frost persuaded her husband and College President, William Goodell Frost, that it was time to build a guesthouse for the College’s visitors. Its location on the old Dixie Highway made it a popular destination for the traveling public coming to enjoy recreation and the beauty of the mountains. For the next nine decades, Boone Tavern provided comfortable accommodations for the campus community and the traveling public. This major renovation of an historic landmark prepares Boone Tavern to fulfill that role for the next century.

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