The University of Mary Washington held a ground breaking ceremony for the new Campus Center on Sept. 20 on Ball Circle, signifying the official beginning of construction on the building. A process that began in 2012, the building is expected to be completed in fall 2015.
Doug Searcy, vice president of student affairs, gave the opening remarks. He thanked the construction teams’ involvement and the “multiple impacts” they have made during the process of planning, as well as stressing the impact the center will have on the community and future UMW students.
Stephanie Preston, Student Government Association (SGA) president, took the podium to deliver a speech on behalf of the student body. She began by calling Ball Circle a “beautiful place” where students gather to study, get work done or simply toss a frisbee. However, due to constrictions of weather, Ball Circle cannot be used to its fullest extent all year and this is one of the many reasons the Campus Center was needed, according to Preston.
“It will enhance our current involvement and engagement here on campus,” said Preston. “It gets too cold during the year, too cold to be outside and have carnivals, and the spaces we have right now are too limited for big events.”
Mary Katherine Greenlaw, mayor of Fredericksburg, spoke on the Campus Center’s impact not only on the school, but to the community.
“UMW is and always has been an important part of Fredericksburg,” said Greenlaw. “One of our sources of pride is being the home of UMW.”
Greenlaw went on to discuss the Campus Center’s ability to act as another link to the community of Fredericksburg because it will provide students another way to engage with the community.
Pamela White, rector of the UMW Board of Visitors (BOV), called the new center a “campus living room” with an outside look that will mirror the rest of the buildings on campus and a 21st century appearance on the inside. White mentioned that the center will “create and enhance community space.”
President Hurley thanked the BOV and the students, as well as the College of Business and psychology department, which both relocated due to the demolition of Chandler Hall. Afterwards, Hurley and other distinguished guests took hold of shovels and scooped the dirt laid out on Ball Circle to symbolize the beginning of the construction.
The 104,000 square foot building will serve host to the James Farmer Multicultural Center, the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service and will be the main student dining hall, while also providing a ballroom and space for students to gather and study.
“I’m looking forward to having new places to eat and chill with my friends,” said freshman Peyton Wilson. “I’m excited to see all the growth UMW is undergoing, and the bright future of our school and community.”
In addition to the Campus Center, construction on the new Information and Technology Convergence Center is well underway and is expected to be completed by March 2014.
“It will grow all of our efforts, engagement and resources,” said Preston. “Everything the students need as of right now will be met by the time these two buildings are completed.”