2007 Alumni Achievement Award Recipient -
John R. Klai II

B.S. 1978, Architecture

John R. Klai II was born, raised and educated in Osnabrock, ND. He graduated from North Dakota State University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Shortly after graduation, Mr. Klai moved to Las Vegas to start his architecture career with Marnell Corrao Associates.

His first mark on the famous Las Vegas strip was made as he lead the design for the expansion of Caesars Palace, a project which eventually spanned his entire tenure with Marnell Corrao - some 12 plus years. While at Marnell Corrao Associates, he served as Project Architect; Vice President/Director of Architectural Services; Secretary of the Corporation; and Executive Vice President, Architectural Administration. After a brief retirement, Mr. Klai partnered with Dan Juba, NDSU BArch‘78, and founded Klai Juba Architects. Today, it is a 36-person firm specializing in the design of gaming, resort and hospitality projects, including high-rise residential. Credited for the entire Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, its 5300 keys and 13 million square feet – inclusive of the Events and Convention Centers, Four Seasons Las Vegas, the Shark Reef, THE hotel and Mandalay Place; Klai Juba Architects has other noteworthy projects including the remodel and expansion of the MGM Grand, Luxor, Hard Rock Las Vegas and The Orleans, and also designed and served as architect for the two Hard Rock Hotel and Casino projects for the Seminole Tribe of Florida in Tampa and Hollywood. Current works of the Klai Juba team include: Panorama Towers, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, SKY Las Vegas, Silverton Casino Lodge Hotel Tower and Conference Center, the Lady Luck transformation/redevelopment, and a second Cannery Casino and Hotel for the ‘locals’.

Mr. Klai is a registered architect in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Michigan, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, New York, Illinois, Louisiana, Kansas, Texas, Connecticut, Missouri and Pennsylvania. A member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and certificate holder with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), he is well respected within his field and is active amongst his peers with licensing and regulating the professional practice of both registered architects and interior designers. For NCARB, he has served seven years on the Architect Registration Examination development sub-committees involved in testing architectural candidates for the Mechanical & Electrical, Pre-Design, and Graphics divisions. In 1999, he was appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn to the Nevada State Board of Architecture, Interior Design and Residential Design, and is now its chairman. Mr. Klai serves as a Trustee for the NDSU Development Foundation.

Mr. Klai has received numerous awards for his work with philanthropic organizations including: 2004 Governor’s Arts Award for service and patronage to arts and business; Outstanding Philanthropist for 2004 by the Las Vegas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; 2005 Great Friend to Kids Award for his consistent support of the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, and the first architect inductee to the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame 2006.

Mr. Klai’s immediate family all made Las Vegas their new home within 10 years of his moving there. Father Jack; sister Jill and Mike Lorenz, with nephews Maxwell and Nicholas; and sister Joni and Mitchell Trageton, with nephews Tyler and Zachary, all work and live in and around Las Vegas. Mother Lois, credited as his biggest cheerleader with choosing to be an older student studying architecture, passed away at the end of December 2001. Mr. Klai resides in Summerlin with his life partner, Jonathan Sparer, his daughter Alison, and their three puppies, Punum, Buster and Sadie.




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