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Contest seeks ideas to name hotel near SMC

Liz Harter | Friday, November 10, 2006

Come next fall, the Inn at Saint Mary’s will have some competition.The Holladay Corporation is working with the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross to build a Hilton Garden Inn conference center next to campus, expected to be ready for the early 2007-08 school year.The only problem is the name.Holladay Properties Senior Vice President of Development Frank Perri said the corporation is using a contest to assist in “placing ‘an appropriate and effective’ name on the new conference center.” Perri’s message was distributed to Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff via an e-mail sent Nov. 3.”We want to have fun and get some really interesting ideas for the name of the conference center,” Perri said when asked why Holladay Properties was holding the contest. “We want to do a good job and pay particular attention to what [the center] is about and to give it a name that is appropriate.”Holladay wants everyone involved – including those in the Saint Mary’s community – to have a chance to weigh in on the name of the conference center, Perri said. The person whose name is chosen will win a weekend package for the conference center, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner for two at the All American Grille, plus two nights of lodging at the hotel.The American Grille will be the full service restaurant in the conference center. Second and third prize winners will also be chosen.Perri said he expects the panel of judges to be made up of five people, including himself, a representative of both management companies involved in the conference center, a member of the Congregation and a judge chosen by College President Carol Ann Mooney.Students expressed mixed reactions to the contest, including just how involved in the building process Saint Mary’s should be.”I think it’s really great that the Hilton is including us in the process. I mean, it is on our campus,” junior Carole Deeter said. “If they didn’t include us, it could potentially be called something asinine, but by including Saint Mary’s students and faculty, they will appropriately be able to associate with us just enough to clue people in about where they are.”Sophomore Kristi Hingstrum agreed, saying the hotel would give more publicity to Saint Mary’s.”A campus confined to its own little area with no outside connection can seem a desolate place,” Hingstrum said. “This [conference center] could open more people’s eyes to Saint Mary’s and that is a benefit to the College.”Sophomore Kellie Anderson said she saw the benefit of the conference center and contest but didn’t understand the choice of prizes.”The dinner and breakfast are kind of cool, but what’s the point of getting a hotel room?” Anderson said. “Our beds aren’t that far away.”Junior Katherine Frazier, however, saw some humor in the situation.”What a way to break parietals,” Frazier said. “It’ll probably say ‘this is not valid on football weekends,’ which takes away [many of the] legitimate reasons for students to use [the voucher for a free night].”