KNAU and Arizona News
11:01 pm
Thu June 19, 2008

High Country Conference Center at Flagstaff

June 20, 2008 – Intro) The High Country Conference Center is already doing a brisk business in Flagstaff even though the official ribbon cutting ceremony was just last night. Arizona Public Radio's Theresa Bierer was there and has this report.

(Ambi of the cheering as the ribbon is cut)

Inside the conference center's new ballroom . A large crowd cheered as Northern Arizona University President John Haeger used oversized scissors to cut a long 8 inch wide ribbon ..he said the project was built through partnerships with Drury hotels Sodexo Conferencing and the City of Flagstaff.

Haeger)) I think this is the way things are going to be done particularly in small towns in more rural areas of the state. One partner can't possibly do it. So the only way you're going to do big projects is you better have 4 or 5 partners and that's how this came out of the ground.

The project was supported by the Arizona board of regents who were able to think outside of the box' says Ernest Calderon. The regent and N-A-U alumnus says university administrators proposed building the conference center at a time when older buildings on campus needed renovations.

CALDERON But by doing this it has built a tremendous amount of energy, a lot of attraction to NAU which in turn is going to help us bring in more state dollars for capital improvement, it's going to help us attract more students.

The conference center is expected to generate at least 7 million dollars annually. Officials at the High country conference center and Drury hotels describe bookings for 2008 as spectacular. In Flagstaff for Arizona Public Radio, I'm Theresa Bierer.