$15 million COB and Student Life Center building plans put into motion
By Jacob King
It’s been all work and no play at The University of Findlay for the development of the new, upcoming Center for Student Life and College of Business building.
According to UF President Katherine Fell, Ph.D.,the 15 million dollar project originated from a space issue and is needed in order for progress as a campus.
“The college [of business] needs its own space, it has the potential to grow,” said Fell.
According to the University website, construction will begin in April of 2016.
This new addition is focused on a variety of matters to advance students: networking, leadership development, and campus life. Darin Fields, vice president of academic affairs, said development of the new building has had a primary focus of two factors- “space planning” and “design”.
According to Fields, the student life center portion of the project will offer food, a bookstore, and more and will be located on the first level. The second level will consist of classrooms for the College of Business.
“There’s been a lot of pretty detailed, I would say, design — selection of surfaces, architectural types of planning,” said Fields.
In relation to space and design, Fell said that data has been collected from students, faculty, and alumni that say a more modern design is preferred.
“My understanding from surveys and focus groups that the division of student affairs has had with students for years — reveal that students want a modern, interactive student center,” said Fell.
Fell said that the building will be conducive to the most efficient and effective teaching practices for learning.
“It will be flexible space, it’ll be open, visible space,” said Fell.
She said that the design of the building will serve well to students and be a good place for activities like creative brainstorming to small group work.
Fell said that the project won’t be taking much longer and an announcement of the projects status will be coming soon enough.
“We’re going to make an announcement, God willing, within a few months, before the semester is over,” said Fell. “Not my promise, but my prediction.”
Fields said that projects like these consume a great deal of time due to so many “moving parts.”
“In a project like this, so many pieces have to come together before you really have the certainty that ‘yes this is going to happen’,” said Fields. “I think everything is pointing in the direction of those things coming together pretty quickly.”
Fell was part of a comprehensive campaign in 2015 that was geared toward the development of this addition and initiating progress. In the beginning of this campaign, a timeline was set for the duration of the project.
“When we announced that we were going to begin a campaign for this building, we said somewhere within three to five years… roughly three to five years,” said Fell. “We’re within our projected timeline.”
Fell said she hopes Old Main will eventually become a center for student services. A central location for all of the main student services would be more accommodating to students.
Although many changes will come into effect after the establishment of the building, one of the biggest factors that control progression of a project is cost.
“The building itself should come in at around $15 million and then we have additional cost of equipment, furnishings and the green space,” said Fell.
The campaign she has been a part of aims at covering “at least half” of the building cost.
“Because the University is in a strong position, we will continue to do fundraising for the cost of that construction and there are still naming opportunities even after it’s built,” said Fell.
Both Fields and Fell expressed excitement when discussing the status of this project and the benefits that this building will offer students, faculty, staff and the community.
“Be prepared to be excited,” said Fell.