HPM Announces Completion of Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center

The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at Auburn University prepares graduates for an array of careers within the broad hospitality industry with immersive, hands-on learning opportunities, while also providing exceptional service to patrons visiting the facility’s state-of-the-art restaurant, hotel and food hall. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER



HPM is pleased to announce the grand opening of Auburn University’s Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, an innovative, dual-purpose building that houses a learning environment blended with a luxury boutique hotel, restaurant, food hall and more.

HPM served as program manager on the project, providing project management support for Auburn University Facilities Management during the pre-construction and construction phases of the world-class educational and hospitality facility.

The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center is a 142,000-square-foot complex with the capacity to facilitate hands-on, immersive learning experiences for students pursuing careers in hospitality and culinary sciences.

Students will train alongside world-renowned chefs and hospitality professionals in Class-A training kitchens, restaurants and labs, as well as a brewery, retail food hall and boutique hotel. Also located on the first floor of the building is 1856, a tasting-menu-only teaching restaurant. Situated at the corner of East Thach Avenue and South College Street in downtown Auburn, construction on the building began in 2019.

“We have had a wonderful experience working with Auburn University Facilities Management to bring this one-of-a-kind hospitality learning environment to life,” said HPM President Ryan Austin. “The strong relationships we have formed with our partners have driven home success for this project and kept us focused throughout every step, even as we faced a global pandemic. This is another successful project that we are pleased to add to our portfolio of high-profile hospitality and higher-education initiatives across the Southeast.”

HPM provided pre-construction and construction services on the project, including contract oversight, and quality control and assurance. The firm worked closely with design teams during the planning stages to ensure the initial drawings aligned with the budget and timeline, while also managing communication with all partners and subcontractors to ensure that progress remained on schedule.

HPM scoped out and managed the bidding of a separate utility and enabling works package for the building contractor, helping bypass time-intensive utility relocations and keeping the overall project schedule on track. The firm also oversaw the construction of a six-story, $10 million parking deck nearby before beginning work on the culinary facility.

“I am proud of our team’s dedication to collaboration and preplanning, which ultimately led to a smooth transition between each phase of the project lifecycle,” said HPM Operations Manager Caleb Camp. “This facility is a trailblazer in both the hospitality and higher education industries, providing a range of training opportunities that are not offered at other institutions in the country. HPM’s expertise in owner’s representation and construction management maintained cost efficiency and ensured this project was completed to Auburn University’s high standard of excellence.”

Auburn alumnus and Board of Trustees member Jimmy Rane helped kickstart the project with a $12 million gift dedicated to the building’s construction. The board later approved naming the facility in honor of his parents, Tony and Libba Rane.

“It’s been a privilege to work with the HPM team,” said Mary Melissa Taddeo, campus architect at Auburn University. “Their support through pre-construction and construction phases was invaluable, especially as our Facilities Management team navigated staffing transitions and procurement hurdles throughout construction. HPM’s consistent, high-quality leadership and ‘boots on the ground’ guidance in the field was key to this project’s success.”

HPM helped administer the state of Alabama bid process during the pre-construction phase to select qualified, experienced contractors and partners.

Additional project partners include architecture and design firm Cooper Carry, facility operator Ithaka Hospitality Partners, the Auburn University Facilities Management department and general contractor Bailey-Harris Construction.

With a presence throughout the U.S. and a total management portfolio value of $1 billion-plus annually, HPM has established itself as one of the industry’s leading program managers and owner’s representative companies. The firm’s recent notable clients and accounts include a program management contract for Airbus’ campus, including the A320 and A220 assembly lines in Mobile, Alabama; an assignment to lead the site selection process, planning, design and construction of Boom Supersonic’s first manufacturing facility; project management services for several new minor league baseball ballparks and major league spring training facilities in Florida; a pre-construction services and construction administration contract for facilities owned by Regions Financial Corporation; a partnership with the World Games 2022 as the official program management partner; and program management services for multiple K-12 school districts and higher education institutions throughout the South.

For more information on HPM and its services, visit www.hpmleadership.com/.


HPM provides comprehensive planning, design and construction-related experience to offer clients a one-stop approach to complete program management and owner’s representation. From real estate acquisition analysis and facilities assessments to construction auditing and move management, HPM services clients in aerospace, automotive, sports and entertainment venues, commercial and industrial, higher education, K-12, and state and local government. With a footprint of accounts, projects and offices spanning throughout the U.S., the HPM team manages its work for national and international clients while providing a flexible, scalable team of experts at just the right time in the life of your facilities. For more information, please visit wwwhpmleadership.com.


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