Emma Coffey ~ Staff Writer
The University of Lynchburg will host a dedication ceremony in honor of the new residence hall completion on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, at 11:30 a.m.
President Kenneth Garren said that the purpose of the dedication ceremony is to “recognize in part some contributions to make it happen.” He shared that some of those contributions were in the financing and construction of the new building.
According to Dr. Garren, the reason a new residence hall needed to be built was because the second-year students were asked what was best for them in terms of residential facilities. The school contacted a company called Ayers Saint Gross, where they specialize in the architecture wanted for the project. Originally, the project was just going to be renovations to the old residence hall; however, that could not be achieved. Instead, a new building was needed. Eventually, funds were raised for the project and two other companies, a contractor and an architect, were contacted to begin the process: Jamerson Lewis and Cooper Carry.
Dr. Garren shared that the process for picking out a new name for the residence hall will depend on the Board of Trustees. According to him, the board is looking for someone to give an 8-10 million dollar donation.
According to Dr. Garren, during the ceremony, he will be giving brief remarks, such as thanks to the different contributors. There will also be a time capsule buried during the ceremony and a large picnic lunch. He said, “I like to see people get credit for the things they do.”
Catherine Ruskan, a student living in the new residence hall, shared that the building is fresh, clean, and worth the wait. Her favorite part of the building is how the bathrooms are more private. Ruskan said, “It is much bigger than Mont and Tate and it just has a very welcoming presence.”
According to Ruskan, she is looking forward to seeing everyone at the dedication ceremony because the construction of the building will be done. She shared that it will be fun for everybody to attend because they can explore the building and freshmen can know they have a second option for housing. Ruskan said that students should also attend because “they worked on it for so long and they had setbacks.”
According to the Associate Vice President, Michael Jones, planning for the dedication ceremony has been going on since the summer. He shared that some of the possible dates for the ceremony were Parents’ Weekend, Homecoming, and Oct. 25. However, the chosen date was in favor because the Board of Trustees would be on campus. He said, “We expect as many as 400 guests: students, faculty, staff, trustees, and invited guests.”
According to Jones, during the ceremony there will be several speakers, including Nat Marshall, chair of the Board of Trustees, President Garren, several students, Deans Aaron Smith and Kristen Cooper, and University Chaplain, Stepanie McLemore. There will also be music and a luncheon on Shellenberger Field. After the lunch, tours will be offered and the contents going into the time capsule will also be displayed.
Jones said, “We are very excited about the opening of the building and the dedication. It should be a great celebration of the work of many in the university community.”
The Associate Dean of Students, Kristen Cooper, shared that the purpose of the dedication ceremony is to bring the community together and celebrate. According to her, she is looking forward to showing the time capsule pieces and to recognize those who were involved with the building process. Cooper’s role will be giving tours of the building, discussing the time capsule, and speaking during the ceremony about the building itself. In order to prepare for the ceremony, she worked with speaking portions, tours, and preparing for staff.
Cooper shared that students should come celebrate and see the collaborative learning space. She said, “We would love students to be part of that process.”
According to Cooper, the benefit of the ceremony is mostly to bring the campus community together. She shared that it is meant to be a building all campus members can enjoy and benefit from. Cooper said, “I would love for students to get a full understanding of the collaborative aspects of the building.”
According to Dr. Garren, he hopes that with the dedication ceremony, it will be a good time to show that other buildings on campus also need renovations. He hopes to be able to add another wing to the Hobbs-Sigler building and build a new athletic facility.