Making Strides in its Development
The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM), formerly the Department of Institutional Management, was founded in 1958. A name change in 1990 to the Department of Hospitality and Food Science reflected a new focus and an enlarged scope in the department's response to emerging national and regional training needs.
Resulting from the university's restructuring and renewed focus, the department, in 1995, became the SHTM. In an effort to respond to the demands of the hospitality and tourism industry, many changes have been made to existing programmes and new ones have been developed.
"We have thrived tremendously based on the available resources and funding received. The aim of this department is to continue helping these young people achieve their desired goal and set them on the right path along the way," said Gaunette Sinclair-Maragh, PhD, associate professor and head of the SHTM, when The Gleaner toured the new lodging and culinary training facility.
It is a beautiful building. The ceramic tiled floors complemented the high ceiling and a spacious reception area in the lobby which boasts granite countertops.
The hotel consists of eight rooms and a suite with five bathrooms, and has an easy flow from one area to the next. It is designed to accumulate to 20 more rooms, with future expectations of growth in the student population.
Sinclair-Maragh led the team from the dining area with its open, spacious feel and huge windows through which light brightens the room, bringing a sense of the outdoors in. This opens out to a dining terrace. The ample bar is located to the left-hand corner of the restaurant, and from here a passage leads to two 'a la carte' sections.
Behind the restaurant are the bulk of the baking, cooking and food-preparation labs and a presentation room where the students can show off their work to guests.
There are two access points to the second floor - the stairs or a service elevator that takes luggage or guests with mobility issues. The bedrooms, which have individual balconies, can be accessed on the balcony using swipe cards. The bedrooms have a great view of both campus and the mountains in the distance.
Close to the end of the corridors upstairs is the laundry and the gravelled roof that houses a mechanical farm. The building is now used for small campus functions, and should be fully functional by August next year.
Director of Tourism Paul Pennicooke was impressed with the facility when he visited, the SHTM head said. The department is looking forward to its partial opening later this year when furnishing is complete.
- Omarie Morgan