Over the last six years, Virginia Wesleyan has done $110 million in privately funded construction. These projects have contributed to residential life, academic resources and aesthetic upgrades across the campus.
There are currently a number of ongoing construction projects on campus. These include the new DeFord Manor, Clarke Hall upgrades and the Brock Commons addition.
DeFord Manor has made significant progress over the past few months and VWU will soon be the last of the universities in the Hampton Roads area to add a presidential residence. The funds were contributed through private donations for DeFord Manor.
Once DeFord Manor is completed it will allow for guest entertainment space for President Miller. Additionally, it will allow the president to attend more on campus events throughout the week leading to better campus engagement.
Clarke Hall has also undergone major renovations, adding new technology and opportunities for students as well as faculty. Beyond that, the university has begun to offer a workforce development program that helps displaced workers in the Hampton Roads area take courses at VWU to reintegrate into the workforce.
“A lot of technology has been added, and Business Administration as a major has grown here, the graduate program also,” Miller said. “And so through private funding, we acquired the money to modernize the building number one and then to put modern technology in it.”
Senior business major Katie Costin is excited to end her senior year on a high note while using the newly renovated space.
“It is nice because we are one of the biggest majors on campus and we finally have an area designated for our studies,” Costin said. “The updates are an amazing addition to our resources that make the major even more attractive to students as well as prospective applicants.”
Last but not least, the biggest ongoing project on campus remains the Brock Commons expansion that has been a part of the Jane P. Batten Student Center and Boyd Dining Hall renovation plans.
Brock Commons is a huge new addition to the campus community, adding gathering space and common areas for faculty, staff and students. The construction of Brock Commons has taken creative ingenuity in efforts to impact student life in the least disruptive way possible.
“Where normally we would have started with the addition off the front of the building first, we did it in flip order,” Miller said. “Because we were taking advantage of the time when students were not around to do the things that would be tremendously disruptive to that.”
In reference to the Brock Commons addition, President Miller had a lot of exciting updates. The Brock Commons construction is set to be complete by February 2022 and will add multipurpose space to the Dining Hall.
“There will be large screen monitors in there and good technology and it’s designed as a multi-purpose area,” Miller said. “So it would be nice events like an Athletic Hall of Fame induction or it could be the Marlin Chronicle wants to do their annual awards dinner and they want to have everybody together.”
This new space can be utilized for formal events, student activities and even dining hall seating. Miller went on to explain how the Marlin Business Conference could utilize the space for most of their activities in this new space.
“As a business student who has participated in the Marlin Business Conference, I can see how the new gathering areas will be a great addition to our campus,” Costin said. “In the past, it could be difficult to go from one conference location to the next, so a central gathering space was much needed.”
After delays in steel production due to supply chain issues, the construction project has finally become a reality and has made quick progress.
The future looks bright for the Virginia Wesleyan campus. According to President Miller, there are a few plans in the works that could lead to even further campus enhancement after the conclusion of the current construction campaign.
These plans include renovating Village 2 and the addition of another row of townhouses in Honors Village.
By Katie Yeager