NPC Names Oaklawn Foundation Hospitality And Tourism Center

National Park College (NPC) announced the newly renovated Hospitality and Tourism Center will be named for the Oaklawn Foundation. The name was approved during the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees Wednesday.

The Oaklawn Foundation invested $400,000 in 2018 to help renovate the 7,500 square foot space. The facility is now located on the first floor of the Gerald Fisher Building.

Forrest Spicher, NPC Board Chair noted that hospitality and tourism is a huge part of our local economy. He said Hot Springs averages approximately eight million visitors per year, with about half staying overnight. He said the 8,000 workers in the industry make up about 25 percent of the workforce and noted Hot Springs has nearly 200 restaurants and 100 hotels. “There is a significant dedication to our visitors, our tourists that come for the dozens of attractions that we have, as well as the lakes, the streams, the mountains.” He added that Oaklawn plays a substantial part of the tourism industry.

Ira Kleinman, Oaklawn Foundation Chair discussed the mission of the Oaklawn Foundation and how the growth and evolution of NPC has allowed the organization to meet that mission. “The work that you guys have done and the progress that National Park College has made in the last several years has been a real pleasure to witness and all of this progress has provided an avenue for the Oaklawn Foundation to fulfill our mission. Our mission is to enhance the quality of lives of the people in Garland County and we are specifically doing that by funding programs for students and seniors.”

“That is exactly what the Hospitality program does. A student can come, earn a degree in Hospitality right here in Hot Springs, and then work right here in our community…in one of the largest industries in our community,” Kleinman added.

Dr. John Hogan, NPC president expressed his appreciation to the Oaklawn Foundation and said the community was fortunate to have such a generous organization supporting local education and seniors. He noted the importance of everyone working together to improve the quality of life for our community.“The mission of the Oaklawn Foundation is to support education and the aging community. They consistently provide opportunities for both groups to advance. We are fortunate for their specific support of our Hospitality and Tourism program, which is an important industry in Hot Springs and the Garland County area.”