Purdue Selects White Lodging to Operate Union Club Hotel

Full-year, complete renovation under way Purdue University has selected White Lodging to operate the Union Club Hotel on its West Lafayette, Indiana campus. The iconic property was built in phases…

Full-year, complete renovation under way

Purdue University has selected White Lodging to operate the Union Club Hotel on its West Lafayette, Indiana campus. The iconic property was built in phases from 1929-53 as an addition to the Purdue Memorial Union and is currently undergoing a complete renovation.

“We are thrilled to work with White Lodging to bring the service and experience at our hotel to a level consistent with the grand plans we have for this renovation,” said Robert Wynkoop, senior director of Auxiliary Services at Purdue University. “White Lodging and Purdue will be ready to welcome our first guests in the Union Club’s next chapter in August 2020.”

A key part of White Lodging’s role will be to create a hands-on learning laboratory for students enrolled in Purdue’s Hospitality & Tourism Management program. Purdue students will fill virtually all roles at the hotel, including the new restaurant and bar.

“We’re excited to support such an iconic part of Purdue University and build the next generation of hospitality professionals by supplementing the classroom experience with hands-on learning,” said Ken Barrett, White Lodging’s president and CEO, hospitality management. “Guests of the Union Club can expect the same world-class hospitality experience they receive at any of our nearly 100 premium-branded hotels and more than 40 restaurants and bars.”

White Lodging has a long history of hiring graduates of the Purdue system and supporting its academic programs, including the White Lodging School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and White Lodging Professional Sales Lab at Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, Indiana. Bruce White, White Lodging’s founder and chairman, graduated from Purdue University and is a former trustee of the university.

Dramatic Renovation Under Way

The hotel closed earlier this month to undergo a complete renovation through the 2019-2020 school year. The project will transform and modernize the entire hotel, which has not been significantly renovated in more than four decades.

Capturing the spirit of Purdue’s innovations, the lobby will undergo the most significant transformation where guests will be treated to a grand entrance in a modern loft-like feel created by removing several guest rooms above the existing space. The contemporary design pulls through many of the building’s original architectural elements while celebrating alumni who have had an impact around the world.  All 182 guest rooms and public spaces will also undergo a complete overhaul. What won’t change is the historical and architectural significance of the building’s facade.

In addition, a yet-to-be announced full-service restaurant and new bar will be added to the property. The project also includes upgrades and cosmetic improvements to the existing ballrooms on the main floor of the Purdue Memorial Union.

“The goal of this renovation is to not only make this a state-of-art university-owned hotel, but to make it stand alongside some of the best hotels in the country – both from a design and service perspective,” said Wynkoop.

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White Lodging, established in 1985, is one of the leading ownership, development, and management companies in America. An innovative trendsetter, the organization’s portfolio includes convention, urban lifestyle, and suburban select hotels with more than $1 billion in managed revenue. White Lodging operates more than 90-premium hotels, 30 restaurants and 30 brands in 20 states. Success knows no boundaries at White Lodging, where associates and leadership have consistently earned superior guest satisfaction scores, top market share and industry-leading profit margins while recruiting the best, brightest, and most passionate professionals in every discipline for three decades. White Lodging is a proud winner of the 2018 & 2019 Gallup Great Workplace Award.