By AMIR KOREHI
With the student population increasing at the University of Mary Washington, a need for new academic buildings arose, and a plan to repurpose and expand on previously used buildings was set into place. Renovations around campus began in the spring of 2014 and continued until their completion in the fall of 2015. The university has a strong dedication to restoration and the preservation of its history, and the newly opened Woodard and Mercer Halls are examples of this.
Recently, Woodard and Mercer Halls were renovated and rededicated. Woodard Hall was appointed as home to the School of Business, and Mercer Hall was assigned as the new Department of Psychology. Both buildings opened to students in the spring of 2015, giving each program a central hub to study in and collaborate with their peers. This was a step in the right direction for both departments. Now that each department has a home, students no longer find themselves attending classes all over campus.
On Nov. 18, a rededication ceremony was held in honor of the newly re-opened Woodard and Mercer Hall. The ceremony was held in the Red Room of Woodard, which is an open lounge area on the upper level of the building.
According to Ken Machande, Associate Dean for the College of Business and guest speaker at the rededication ceremony, the event celebrated the transition of these buildings which were previously a student lounge and infirmary into vital locations on campus for many students.
Guests at the ceremony included a long list of the provost, retired and current faculty members, members of the Board of Visitors, the Chief of Staff and President Troy Paino, who spoke at the event. While the new buildings opened in January, Machande noted that this ceremony was appropriately awaited, even for almost a year after opening.
Andrea Cordray, the Student Support and Outreach Coordinator, attended the ceremony. Cordray noted that there were many students present, and gave tours of the two newly dedicated buildings. According to both Machande and Cordray, the ceremony was successful and served a great purpose for both of the new areas of research that they house.
The reasoning behind the rededication ceremony was that although both buildings previously existed, the buildings now serve new purposes for the university and it was seen necessary to hold the ceremony to recognize their new roles.
Woodard Hall, which was the previous Campus Center, was given its name from Mary Washington’s former president Prince Briggs Woodard. The building, which sits above the Nest, was used as a commuter lounge for some time until it was closed and left unused until the renovation took place. Now sitting in what can be considered the center of campus is a two-story building full of state of the art tools, which will give business students every possible opportunity to excel in any path they choose.
Named after Hugh Mercer, the new home for the psychology department, Mercer Hall has many new features that were added during the renovation, including physiology labs, social development labs and computer labs alongside classrooms.
These new additions to campus followed close behind the opening of the Hurley Convergence Center and University Center, which helped further the campus and provide students with the greatest resources to learn. The students in both programs in Woodard and Mercer Hall are grateful for their new buildings that give them a space where they can continue to grow and advance in under their fields.