Wichita City Council OKs Boston rec center lease to Butler Community College

The city went into the hospitality education business Tuesday, approving a partnership with Butler Community College to teach classes at a city park..

The City Council unanimously approved a lease that turns over about 3,000 square feet of Boston Park’s recreation center to the El Dorado college for classes in cooking, hotel and restaurant management.

The lease begins in January and runs through 2015. Butler will pay $22,315.44 in rent for the first year, or $1,859.62 per month.

A second proposed lease at Osage Recreation Center by the Urban League of Kansas was dropped from Tuesday’s agenda without explanation.

Doug Kupper, the city’s parks director, said the Butler lease doesn’t preclude other space leases at Boston or city-sponsored public recreational classes and activities in the center’s gymnasium, game room and office.

The lease comes in the wake of a study last year by the Hugo Wall School at Wichita State University on parks and recreation consolidation, a study that recommended Boston Park’s rec center be used to provide more educational programming.

“This is a great partnership opportunity,” council member Janet Miller said. “It’s the kind of activity we hoped would come about after the discussions last year.”

Butler’s hospitality management program offers students associate degrees and one-year certificates in restaurant and hotel management.

College officials told The Eagle this week they plan to renovate the center’s kitchen into a commercial kitchen for a culinary program. College officials plan to equip the kitchen with a commercial grade stove, stainless steel prep tables and a commercial dishwasher from the Wichita Ice Center.

Two classrooms will also be used.

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