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Despite early financial losses, Wharton officials said last week the Steinberg Conference Center is now generating over $2 million in profit per year. The facility houses the Aresty Institute of Executive Education, which runs continuing education programs for business executives. Money from the center is directed to the Wharton School as well as the University. The $24 million center was dedicated in October 1987 with a prediction by former Wharton Dean Russell Palmer that it would make money immediately. Palmer's prediction, however, did not come true. Wharton officials predicted the center would lose $1.2 million its first year. According to the school's figures from December 1988, the center was projected to draw about 3,200 executives in its first year, 900 less than was necessary for the center to break even. Also, Wharton Comptroller Dan McCollum said two years ago the center's mortgage payments were running $400,000 more than was budgeted. McCollum added that the center needs to average 72 percent occupancy over the course of the year to turn a profit. McCollum declined to comment on this year's financial standing. But Vice Dean of Executive Education Robert Mittelstaedt said last week the center is now educating over 4,000 executives each year through different programs that vary in both length and meeting times. Mittelstaedt added that during the spring and fall peak seasons, the center often runs at 150-percent occupancy and that the extra executives have to be housed at other hotels. He estimated that the center averages 75 percent occupancy over the course of a year. Mittelstaedt said the center does have a debt, in the form of a mortgage, but its profits make up for this. "Two million dollars is left after we have paid all expenses," Mittelstaedt said. The upper three floors of the center serve as a hotel for the guests during their seminars and contain 93 single rooms, seven double rooms, and two VIP suites. Throughout the building there are also five classrooms, numerous case-study "breakout" rooms, and a dining room that seats 160. Mittelstaedt said the center was established to serve the changing educational needs of executives' education. "We look at the many trends in education," Mittelstaedt said. "There is a need for managers to have continuous education." Mittelstaedt explained that the center is well decorated to attract executives who are choosing from programs at other Universities. A Wharton statement earlier this month said no tuition money had been spent to alleviate the initial loss.

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