Oglethorpe University is set to begin construction soon on a state-of-the-art student center.
But don’t worry, said university spokeswoman Renee Vary. The new facility has been designed to fit in with the school’s signature Gothic buildings.
“The outside looks really cool. It will fit with the existing architecture on campus. It will have a stone Gothic exterior, but with a modern twist,” Vary said. “There will be a fire pit outside and several elements that will make it current and will really be the building our students need.”
The Emerson Student Center, which was built in the 1960s, had become outdated, Vary said.
“It just wasn’t conducive to what it needed to be for our campus. We needed more meeting space, more modern facilities,” Vary said.
Vary said the old student center was the headquarters for campus life, including offices for student organizations and the dining hall. The new student center will include updated facilities, as well as new additions such as a coffee shop and the fire pit.
“We’re envisioning it as the living room of campus. The place students will gather,” Vary said.
Oglethorpe has raised $15 million to fund the project, including a $5 million gift from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.
“That’s the largest single gift in Oglethorpe’s history,” Vary said.
The school estimates construction will take about a year, with the new student center being ready to open by the fall of 2013.
Dirt is moving in other areas of the Brookhaven campus, too. Oglethorpe is in the process of resurfacing its track and building a field in the middle to accommodate the newly formed lacrosse teams.
“The center of the track will become our lacrosse field,” Vary said. “It’s a larger project to improve the track surface for the track team and provide a space for our lacrosse team.”
A new scene shop is also under construction near the Conant Center for Performing Arts. The facility will provide space to build sets for Oglethorpe’s theater program as well as Georgia Shakespeare, which is housed at the university.
“There’s a lot going on,” Vary said.