Career Center to get a new home

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April 8, 2008

3:08 AM

The Career Center has plans to construct a privately funded facility next to the heavily trafficked area in front of the University Center.

The construction project is estimated to cost $7 million and will be completely funded through private donations. A date of completion has not been released, though groundbreaking is expected to occur once sufficient funds are received.

The year-long construction will not affect the center’s current capabilities, but major road and landscape grading will occur along James Blair Drive next to the University Center.

Created in 1980, the Career Center has been located in the basement of Blow Memorial Hall since 1990. The center provides both undergraduates and graduates with practical workshops, career counseling, resume and interview assistance and placement in internships and employment. According to the center, its programs reached almost three-fourths of seniors and half of juniors in the 2006-2007 school year.

The increasing demand for center programs and the lighting and space limitations of its current location recently inspired plans for an 11,000-square-foot facility between the University Center and Zable Stadium.

After nine years of hearing about the Career Center’s lack of accessibility and difficult location, Director Mary Schilling believes the center is ready for a new, centralized facility.

“Coupling the Career Center with the University Center is a great idea. For undergraduates, it is an ideal location on campus, and for admissions tours it speaks volumes about the College helping them plan for life after school. It is a bold statement,” she said.

The new two-and-a-half-story Career Center is to contain a spacious welcome area with a resource library, several counselor and administrative work rooms, a recruitment office and about 15 large, windowed interview rooms.

Another addition is a multimedia presentation room which holds 60 to 80 students and eliminates the center’s need to house programs in University Center rooms or campus classrooms.

Though not directly connected to the University Center, the building will create a new entrance for stadium events and will contain a rooftop terrace overlooking the stadium for receptions and networking events.

“We want students to come in, feel comfortable, and make good use of the resources. We want to draw people in students, alumni and even faculty,” Schilling said.

Plans for expansion of the center’s programs are to coincide with the new space are not currently in development, but Schilling sees the opportunities of the facility.

“We are at full tilt with programs now, so additional rooms would create the opportunity to hire more staff, create wider programming and reach more students that are currently not being served,” Schilling said.

Collaboration will continue with both the School of Education and the Mason School of Business, and she sees the Career Center’s future project as a complement to the building projects of those two programs.

Schilling said she hopes to see some development in the next few years and looks forward to both the Career Center and the College’s future with the new center.

“I am honored and pleased that the College has made this commitment. It is an affirmation of their belief in the potential and future of its students,” she said.

The Career Center provides resources for students in preparation of entering the workforce. Services providing instruction on how to write a resume, find internships, build networks, and find letters of recommendation.

The Career Center is located in room 204 of Blow Memorial Hall. It is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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