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Hotel Profiles Heritage Inn 900 E. Center St. Harding University Searcy

Unique University Conference Center Includes Hotel

With 50 rooms, the Heritage Inn at Searcy doesn't rank among Arkansas' largest hotels.

But the Heritage Inn is unique because it is a revenue-producing venture owned and operated by Harding University. The hotel is part of a conference center at the school.

"I don't know of any other university in Arkansas that has a hotel with its conference center," says Arnold Pylkas of Harding's American Studies Institute, which operates the conference center.

The conference facility consists of the hotel, a 500-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, dining rooms and a kitchen -- all under one roof.

Finding available classroom space during the school year can be difficult, Pylkas admits, but during the summer it is no problem. Even the 3,500-seat Benson Auditorium is available in the summer.

Rates at the Heritage Inn are reasonable. Economy rooms are $22 single occupancy, $27 double. Luxury rooms are $34 and $39.

Another facility promoted by the university is Camp Takhodah. Located about 35 miles from Searcy, it can serve as a retreat facility for businessmen and educators, Pylkas says.

The concept of an income-producing hotel and conference center belongs to Dr. George Benson, former president of Harding. The center was built in 1965 under his administration.

"He was ahead of his time," Pylkas says.

As a result, the hotel was converted into a dormitory until a few years ago when it was renovated.

Though most people drive to Searcy for meetings, they can fly to town as well. Sam Walton, a member of the ASI advisory board, jets in for meetings, according to Pylkas.

Marketing efforts have been directed toward educational groups, religious groups and service clubs -- organizations willing to go without alcoholic beverages since White County is dry.

Pylkas says he is trying to attract business and industry as well.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Journal Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Gibson, Carolyn
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jun 3, 1991
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