FREDONIA - Campus and local officials gathered recently with dozens of State University at Fredonia students and alumni to kick off Homecoming Weekend by welcoming back the hub of student life on campus.
Virginia Horvath, SUNY Fredonia president, led a ceremony to re-dedicate the Williams Center, the 42-year-old student union which just completed the second phase of a complete, $10 million renovation which required its first and second floors to be closed throughout the 2011-12 academic year.
Changes include the reopening of the building's original skylights; the reconfiguration of all offices; new flexible meeting rooms; a fully renovated multipurpose room; a contemporary re-design of the internal walls, floors and furnishings; updated entrances to improve accessibility and traffic flow; a modified loading dock area; and improved sight lines for the safety of pedestrians and vehicular traffic.
Virginia Horvath, State University at Fredonia president, joined students, elected officials, administrator and representatives of many offices in the newly renovated Williams Center at a re-dedication ceremony recently to kick off Homecoming Weekend.
Below-the-surface upgrades include new wiring, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, new audio/visual equipment and an updated sprinkler system. Still to come is a patio outside the new Tim Horton's cafe, to provide a beautiful outdoor space for events and enhance the relationship between the Williams Center and University Commons.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the re-opening of the nearly 95,000-square-foot facility which originally opened in 1970 and was part of the I.M. Pei-designed campus master plan of 1964.
"Now, thanks to the spectacular renovations that bring light, comfort, style, efficient heating and air conditioning, and state-of-the-art technologies into this historic building, we are rededicating the Williams Center as a reminder of the importance of student life here," Dr. Horvath said. "As a residential campus, Fredonia is a complete living-learning community, with students learning in and outside the classroomand the activities in this building are important parts of that learning process."
"This building is the 'home' of the student government, the 'family room' for students and their clubs, and the 'living room' for the entire campus and community. Thanks to this beautiful renovation, we can share this space with great pride for many years to come."
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Joining Horvath among the speakers were state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean; state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County; David Herman, Fredonia vice president of student affairs; Jordan Nicholson, Fredonia Student Association president; and Dirk Schneider, partner and project manager for Chaintreuil, Jensen and Stark Architects.
"This building is the 'home' of the student government, the 'family room' for students and their clubs, and the 'living room' for the entire campus and community," Herman said. "Thanks to this beautiful renovation, we can share this space with great pride for many years to come."
Nicholson thanked campus leaders for their investment in student education beyond the classroom, and stressed the building's importance from the student perspective.
"The most important aspect of this new hub of activity is certainly the prospect of togetherness," Nicholson said. "We know that an education is not just measured by the scores you achieve on exams, but also by the relationships and experiences that we have. This building is the place where those relationships can grow, and those experiences can happen."
The Williams Center is home to the Office of Campus Life, the Student Association, which oversees more than 100 student groups on campus; The Leader, the university's student-run newspaper; the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office, the SUNY Fredonia Federal Credit Union, the Office of Volunteer and Community Services, the Leadership Development Program, the new Tim Horton's Cafe, the Centre Pointe Lounge dining complex, and various offices of the Faculty Student Association.