September 13, 2011
While many buildings at the College of William and Mary are old, outdated and prone to flooding, the Campus Center may be next on the list to receive a facelift.
Two architectural firms met with College officials last week to start a feasibility study to map out potential options for a redesign of the Campus Center. The building was originally constructed in the 1950s.
“The building was good originally, but it doesn’t fit the needs of the current campus population as we have gotten bigger,” Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Constantine said.
Moseley Architects, a local contractor, and WTW Architects, known for their work on university student centers, were awarded the project last spring and began meeting with College officials, as well as with Dining Services, Student Activities and the Dean’s offices. The firms will compile data and create several mock-ups, potential designs and financial estimates to present to the feasibility study committee, which has two student representatives.
Constantine said that possible renovations were discussed in previous years, but that this feasibility study represents the first step toward future construction. He also said that the school sees three main options: to renovate the current space, to raze the building and start over, or to do a little of both.
“The school recently found the money to do a feasibility study, which allows an architect to come in, talk to the different groups that occupy this building and dream together,” Constantine said.
As it stands now, there is no money set aside for construction, and Constantine does not foresee the project starting for a few years.
“This is a long-term project; there is no money allocated for construction right now,” Constantine said.
Future incarnations of the building must be student-friendly and inviting, according to Constantine, so that students feel it is “their building.” The Office of Student Affairs emailed a survey to a random sample of students in order to gain feedback on the plans.
“I think it’s a good thing that they’re redesigning it because it’s been around for a long time,” Melissa Ahlem ’14 said. “Change might not always be welcome, but usually it brings new things forward. And the bathroom definitely needs a redesign.”
Sarah Lesley ’12 offered additional suggestions.
“Parts of the building need to be cleaned up, and things break a lot. I would like a building with a coffee shop and more study rooms,” Lesley, a Campus Center employee, said of the current state of the building.
Constantine envisioned the future building as part of student life, but was careful to point out that any potential plans for renovation must take into account the services and space already available at the College’s other main student life area, the Sadler Center.
“It is important that the two buildings complement each other, instead of competing,” Constantine said. “The same staff runs both buildings, so they will work together.”
Constantine believes that any future incarnation of the building would have more meeting space and dining space for large and small groups alike, in the same vein as the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth and Tidewater rooms. Constantine projects that the feasibility study will be completed in February.