Virginia Wesleyan students are no stranger to renovations and improvements around campus, and the construction outside of Boyd Dining Center is one more project for students to look forward to. The renovations began in mid-March when the familiar, friendly face of the John Wesley statue found a new home in front of Monumental Chapel & Beazley Recital Hall, which Jason Seward, the associate vice president for campus life and operational management, calls a “more fitting and appropriate location.”
These plans were made in 2016 when the Campus Master Plan was finalized with the help of Derck & Edson, an architecture firm from Litiz, Pennsylvania. According to Seward, construction is expected to begin in May and be completed in early 2022. The architect of this project is Michael Schnekser of Tymoff + Moss.
Earlier renovations that came from this plan included the improvements to the Founders Foyer, the President’s Dining Room, and the Board of Trustees Suite also known as the Shafer Room. The current construction project will result in extra outdoor dining space and new entrances to the dining center. This new area will be named Brock Commons, in honor of Trustee Emerita Joan Brock and her late husband Macon. Trustee Brock is a longtime benefactor of the University and has made a generous gift to Virginia Wesleyan University to fund the construction.
Dr. Miller has previously been quoted as saying that the intent of this renovation is to “increase efficiency, streamline services, and enhance the student experience at Virginia Wesleyan.”
Freshman Elias Kenworthy has concerns about the fact that the construction is requiring students to go out of their way to enter the building, which could be “somewhat detrimental to the student organization tables who usually have a more consistent flow of traffic through the dining hall center.” He also points out that oftentimes “the construction workers are not wearing masks,” and it’s a “potential risk to students.”
Sophomore Amruta Karkare has a more hopeful view of the project. She believes that the renovations make the quad “a lot more inviting,” saying that having picnic tables, as the plan shows, is really important. According to her, VWU may be a small school but “you still want to get to know people.” Karkare noticed that picnic tables seem to be a staple at other universities, and found it strange that Virginia Wesleyan did not have any.
However, Karkare looks forward to the fact that the completion of the project will improve the space greatly. She has missed being able to have lunch with friends because of new regulations this year, and the new plaza helps to alleviate this necessary problem caused by COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines.
By Rhian Tramontana