AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at Auburn University is close to opening its doors. Its mission is to educate students by immersing them in all aspects of hospitality management while entertaining the community in a one-of-a-kind space.

WRBL has an exclusive tour as crews are putting the finishing touches on the 110-million-dollar facility.

Nestled in the heart of Auburn, situated on South College and East Thatch, stands the Rane Center. It’s a crossroads of campus and community, aiming to create the most interesting and exciting culinary educational experience in the world.

“We are offering a blended approach to the traditional university education at Auburn. We are going to give a combination of theory and hands-on practice from freshman all the way up to senior year, involving live and very commercial settings. Sudents are not just practicing behind the scenes, as it were, they are actually going to get hands-on, day-to-day interaction with the public at large,” said Martin O’Neill, Ph.D., Department Head NDHM.

Through The Rane Center, the College of Human Sciences can better prepare graduates for an array of hospitality careers, including hotel, restaurant, and event management. Culinary and Brewing Science courses include Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Culinary Exhibition labs open to students and the community.

“We have an open mind and open door policy for the community. So, when people ask me, ‘can I eat here, sleep here, can I have an event here.’ Of course, you can. This is designed absolutely with the community in mind,” said O’Neill.

1856, named after the year the university was founded, is the teaching restaurant where students work with a chef in residence and master sommelier, creating stellar dining experiences. Students can showcase their own creations and flavors at The Hey Day Market, a multi-concept food hall. The Laurel Hotel and Spa feature 16 rooms, 10 suites, six residences, and a luxury day spa. A 4,000-square-foot flower, vegetable, and herb rooftop garden, managed by ag students, is the perfect spot for an event or wedding. An infinity pool overlooks Jordan Hare and Samford Hall.

The facility is expected to become a world-class teaching and learning destination for faculty and students. The center is named for the Rane family. Tony Rane, the son of Italian immigrants, is a great American success story. Starting from scratch, he built a variety of thriving businesses and enjoyed a diverse career, owning several restaurants, retail stores, and hotels. Though “Mister Tony” was the driving force behind his family’s entrepreneurial ventures, his success would not have been possible without his wife Libba’s faithful support and influence. In honor of Tony and Libba’s entrepreneurial spirit and fierce love of family, country, and cooking, AU presents the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at Auburn University.

For more information on Rane Center reservation info, please visit their website: Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at Auburn University

For more of our tour with Dr. O’Neill, click the video below.