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Historic Centennial Hall Reopens at Johnson & Wales University, Receives Historic Denver Award

DENVER— After more than 30 years of being shuttered and $17 million in renovations, Centennial Hall – which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places – will be the new hub and heart of Johnson & Wales University’s Denver Campus.

Centennial Hall, originally named Treat Hall, was built in 1886 for the Colorado Women’s College. In 2000, JWU purchased the campus in the Park Hill neighborhood, but the building remained shuttered. The structure was renamed Centennial Hall in 2014 as an homage to Colorado, the Centennial State, and Johnson & Wales University’s centennial year.

The newly renovated Centennial Hall features classrooms, a café, faculty and administrative offices, and a great hall that will be used for events and a learning laboratory for students. Many of the original finishes of Centennial Hall including the grand staircase and doors have been preserved and/or repurposed to allow the building’s grandeur to shine and flourish.

Along with the overhaul of the historic building, JWU has also invested more than $15 million to renovate Founders Hall – built in 1929 – into a modern residence hall. Saunders Construction oversaw the Founders Hall and Centennial Hall projects, while JWU worked with Hord Coplan Macht (formally SLATERPAULL Architects) for the buildings’ unique design features.

"Centennial Hall has come full circle from being an 'old main' building from 1886 to being a 'new main' student hub today and for future JWU students," said Craig Welsh, the project’s lead architect with Hord Coplan Macht.

“Saunders Construction is so proud to be of service to the Johnson & Wales’ campus projects over the years and we certainly congratulate the JWU team of leaders for their extraordinary growth and pursuit of excellence,” said Dick Saunders, founder and chairman emeritus at Saunders Construction.

To mark the momentous occasion, the university will host JWU-Palooza, a festival featuring games, food and a wildcat statue dedication with university chancellor John Bowen and Denver Campus president Robin Krakowsky September 9, 2015 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place from 1-1:30 p.m.

The general public is also invited to see the magnificent spaces of Centennial Hall at Johnson & Wales University’s Centennial Soirée October 6, 2015 at 6 p.m., featuring culinary stations, drinks and tours of the building. Tickets and sponsorships are available at

“This is truly an exciting time at Johnson & Wales University and these projects demonstrate our commitment to our students, Denver and Colorado,” said president Krakowsky.

In addition to the new spaces for JWU students, Historic Denver announced that Centennial Hall will receive the 2015 Community Preservation Award in October, which is presented to projects exemplifying high-quality restoration, the careful consideration of the city’s historic fabric and a commitment to the community.

Historic Denver executive director Annie Levinsky said she was excited to see the functionality of the new space so well-integrated with many of the historic aspects of the building.

“The amount of thought and care that went into this project is incredible, and honors the dynamic between old and new so that Centennial Hall will vibrantly thrive for another century,” said Levinsky. 

Holli Keyser, Director of Communications & Media Relations
Phone: 303-256-9462
Cell: 720-250-7772

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with approximately 16,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its four campuses in Providence, R.I.; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, N.C. An innovative educational leader, the university offers degree programs in arts and sciences, business, culinary arts, education, nutrition, hospitality and technology. Its unique model integrates arts and sciences and industry-focused education with work experience and leadership opportunities, inspiring students to achieve professional success and lifelong personal growth. The university’s impact is global, with alumni from 119 countries pursuing careers worldwide.