BY BRYNN BOYER
Student employment office, the trailer by College Avenue; career services, third floor of George Washington Hall; bookstore, the trailer outside of Westmoreland—the Mary Washington workout to find student service offices has been typical for students.
But after two years of construction, the newly renovated Lee Hall aims to be the solution to the scattered offices.
Several offices made the move into Lee this week, with more set to move during spring break and throughout the rest of the semester.
According to Marty Wilder, the vice president for enrollment and communications, Lee “will provide a convenient, one-stop location for students to access many of the services they need.”
The project to renovate and expand Lee Hall totaled approximately $17.5 million, according to Rick Hurley, executive vice president for administration and finance.
This week, the offices of Academic Services, Career Services, Disability Services, International Academic Services and the Registrar moved into their new spaces in Lee Hall.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” Director of Career Services Gary Johnson said. “Plus, moving into Lee Hall puts us right in the middle of the traffic flow. It’ll be easy for students to stop in, ask questions, and use our resources and we’ll be a lot more visible on campus.”
Chris Musick, director of International Academic Services, noted that processing student applications should be much easier, since all of the offices that contribute to the applications will be in the same building.
“Our space will allow for friendly, student-centered counseling in a ‘living room’ style environment,” he said.
Several of the offices, including financial aid, student accounts and the registrar, will form the Student Services Center. The center, which will be located on the second floor, should mean that students won’t have to go to multiple locations for these services.
“By coming to one central location where they can be greeted by helpful front-line staff and easily accessible key administrators,” Wilder explained, “students should experience high levels of customer service, and campus runaround should be eliminated.”
When students return from Spring Break, the offices of student employment, student accounts, the cashier, counseling and psychological services and the University Bookstore should be moved into Lee Hall. Other offices will move in gradually throughout the semester.
The Underground, a coffee-shop-by-day, nightclub-by-night student venue, will be the final area to open. According to Wilder, it should be open for students next fall.
During the renovations, offices had to find temporary spaces, some in George Washington Hall and others in modular units. Some offices, such as the Office of University Relations, were moved to an off-campus facility at Centre Court.
Wilder explained that those familiar with the building prior to construction will notice that the architectural character of the former ballroom has remained intact. However, the area has now been reconfigured to include two meeting rooms and an additional pre-function space. Additionally, a new central staircase will enhance traffic flow.
“We are looking forward to unpacking, plugging in and getting back to getting UMW students out of the bubble,” Musick said.