Hospitality Hall, a 95,000-square-foot hotel college building at UNLV, is one step closer to reality.
On Monday, the university announced a $2.5 million gift from Konami Corp., a Japanese toy, video game and slot machine developer. Konami Gaming Inc. is a Las Vegas-based subsidiary focused on slot machines and casino management systems.
It’s the first major donation pledged for the hall’s construction. In 2010, the Caesars Foundation gave $2.5 million for planning and design.
The centrally located UNLV building will encompass classrooms, laboratories and meeting rooms. The project also includes renovations to kitchens and labs in Frank and Estella Beam Hall.
The state-of-the-art center aims to advance the college’s reputation as one of the nation’s best while strengthening its ties to gaming and tourism.
“I see it as a bridge between the university and the community — particularly our primary industry,” said Don Snyder, acting president of UNLV and former dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration.
Snyder said rather than having one large namesake donor, there will be several contributors.
“This building should be for the industry and by the industry,” he said. For that reason, it will have a Strip view.”
The building is expected to cost $50 million, with $30 million coming from public funding and $20 million coming from private donors.
In 2013, the Legislature approved planning funds, mandating that the state pay 60 percent of the project and private donations would account for 40 percent.
Snyder said he hopes to have private fundraising completed before the 2015 Legislature, when the university expects to request public funding. If approved, the building could be completed by late 2017.
Thomas Jingoli, senior vice president and chief compliance officer for Konami Gaming Inc., is a Harrah hotel college graduate.
“Our strong commitment to the education of future industry leaders compels our continual support of UNLV,” Jingoli said.
Nearly 11,000 students have graduated from the hotel college.
Notable alumni include Cynthia Kiser Murphey, president of New York-New York; George Maloof of the Palms; Anthony Marnell III, developer of M Resort; Bill McBeath, former president and chief operating office of Aria; Bill Paulos, principal of Cannery Casino Resorts; and Scott Sibella, president and COO of MGM Grand.
In 2010, Konami Corp. donated $1 million to UNLV’s hotel college for a five-year membership in the Academic Corporate Council annual giving program, an endowment for gaming management students to pursue professional development and discretionary spending. The computer lab in the Stan Fulton building is named after the company.
In 2000, Konami Gaming Inc. gave UNLV $30,000 for research.
Konami is considered by analysts to be one of the gaming industry’s top slot manufacturers.
Contact reporter Kristy Totten at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3809. Follow @kristy_tea on Twitter.