Students at the College of William and Mary have encountered diversions and fencing at the Sadler Center recently as preliminary construction on the new Sadler West Expansion began during the winter break of 2020-21.
Though the construction seems recent, this project has been in the works since October 2018 according to Project Manager Amber Hall, who is currently overseeing the Sadler Center renovation. Hall has previously worked on construction projects around campus, including the Reveley Garden, the Law School patio renovation, the Washington Hall exterior improvements and water intrusion repairs, among others.
According to Hall, the new addition will consolidate and relocate Student Affairs offices and functions, most of which are currently located in Campus Center.
“The expansion will make Student Engagement and Leadership and Student Success departments all accessible together in a central hub,” Hall said.
Though Hall knows that the construction can be disruptive for students, she hopes that they will be excited, since they are being included in the process.
“Some students were involved early on in the design process,” Hall said. “Currently, furniture samples are in Sadler Atrium for students, faculty and staff to test out and vote for their favorites.”
Director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction Gregg Shipp explained that construction began in November 2020, towards the end of the fall semester. The construction is set to be completed in summer 2022.
“The building committee included staff from all departments within Student Affairs and other campus departments as appropriate, as well as students,” Shipp said. “The committee worked hard to ensure this project provides a welcoming, centralized, supportive facility where students can not only conduct business with Student Affairs but also a place they want to simply hang out and enjoy.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler is excited about the new offices that she and her department will be moving into once the construction is finished.
“Our excitement around this new construction is knowing that we are centralizing student activity and student service spaces in a way that will promote connections between and among students, faculty and staff,” Ambler said. “For student affairs, the project carries with it the promise of greater collaboration with and on behalf of students.”
In addition to the Sadler Center renovations, many other facilities on campus are receiving upgrades.
“We are renovating and constructing an addition to Phi Beta Kappa Hall and we are constructing a new music building adjacent to PBK Hall. Both projects are scheduled to be completed in December 2022,” Ambler said. “A renovation and expansion of the Muscarelle Museum is in design, though the exact schedule is not yet confirmed”
The King Health Center will also be renovated in the same project. Once completed, many student departments and offices will be moved to the new building. According to the College’s website, student publications, the Office of Community Engagement, the Center for Student Diversity, Residence Life, the Office of Student Transition Engagement Programs, Dean of Students Office, Sadler Center Management Office and Academic Enrichment will all be relocated to Sadler.
The project is estimated to cost $37,742,000, with funds coming from the College’s auxiliary services budget. The rest of the Six Year Capital Plan that details the costs of the various construction projects around campus can be accessed on the College’s website.
Also in progress is the Memorial to the Enslaved, which will commemorate individuals enslaved by the College. Construction on the memorial, which Shipp manages, is set to begin in February 2021 and will be completed by fall 2021. The memorial will be located on Old Campus by the Sir Christopher Wren Building.
Current levels of construction are not unusual for the College. Generally, the school completes three to four projects per school year. Many students will remember the construction surrounding Washington Hall in the fall 2020 semester, for example, or the construction on Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall. However, since the Sadler Center is such a crucial part of campus life, its renovation has come to many students’ attention.