$15 million donation solidifies campus center–EAA – mcb

Heath Gordon

In August, the administration announced that an anonymous donor had made a $15 million donation towards the building of the new campus center, an amount nearly half of the estimated $31.6 million cost. Executive Vice President of the Committee on Trustees Greg Volk would only go as far to say that he “has known the donor for many years.”
At this point, there is no set date for the commencement of the construction of the campus center. However, we can expect that the timeline has moved forward as this gift has helped to close the funding gap.
The campus center is to be built where Hulbert House currently stands. It will replace the Memorial Union and Jason Downer Commons and will contain a caf, offices for student government and a cinema. The building will also be environmentally friendly, garnering a platinum grade from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design with nearly a perfect score.
The idea of the campus center has been around since 1988 when the Board of Trustees realized the need to upgrade the Memorial Union and started planning renovations. However, funding was needed for academic buildings instead, so the upgrade was shelved.
Then in 2000, after polling students and touring other campuses, the Board of Trustees approved a set of recommendations in which, among other things, they outlined the need for a new central campus center. That year, the Campus Center Planning Committee met for the first time to begin discussions about a new Campus Center.
Until 2003, the campus was mainly occupied with the construction of Hiett Hall, but after the residence hall’s completion the committee reconvened and began consulting with architects about plans for the new center.
Planning continued quietly until 2005, when the trustees made the campus center their priority for fundraising, having “brown paper lunches” with students, faculty and staff to get the input of the larger campus community.
As of now, a final draft of the building has been completed and the only thing in between Lawrence and four floors of offices, dining areas and cinematic pleasure is funding. Thanks to our anonymous donor we are well on our way to meeting our fundraising goals and to having a new campus center.