LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - New Mexico State University broke ground on a new, 126-room hotel that will sit on three acres of land leased by the university.
The new Courtyard hotel operated by Marriott will be located right next door to the Las Cruces Convention Center.
The university's chancellor told ABC-7 the hotel, part of a 14-year effort, will enhance the experience of those visiting Las Cruces and the university.
"It brings together a complete package for someone who wants to come to Las Cruces and attend the convention," NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said, "They can stay here right on the campus, walk right across the little acacia here, to be in the convention."
"Hospitality is one of the strongest industries in New Mexico and one of the challenges in any industry is getting good employees and getting good help, because without them, we don't have success. So, this is needed for this school," said lead developer Prakash Sundaram.
Once the hotel is complete, students in NMSU's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management will get exclusive internship opportunities.
"With our program, we will be able to provide job and internship opportunities and opportunities for our students to go see their operations," said Jean Hertzman, the school's director.
"I think it's just awesome - like we have - for example this kitchen. I've never worked in a restaurant before, so being able to be in a hotel and a Mariott property, it's going to be awesome. It's going to be an amazing place to learn," said NMSU student Fabian Esquivel.
"Getting a chance to have hands-on experience, especially with students, really puts us a step above all our other competitors, because once you get in the industry, you already have that little foot in the door," said Blair Hartley, a student at NMSU.
The university will receive either $80,000 or a percentage of the hotel's revenue, whichever is greater. The hotel is expected to open in June 2019.