The Collegian
Thursday, October 29, 2020

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New admissions building needs approval to begin construction

University of Richmond will begin construction for the Queally Center for Admissions and Career Services this Winter Break if funding is approved by the board of trustees, said Andrew McBride, associate vice president for facilities.

The board of trustees will make its decision at its monthly meeting Friday.

Any project that costs over $500,000 needs to have funding from the university, McBride said.

According to the University of Richmond newsroom, the university has already raised more than $12 million, all of which will go toward the new welcome center. Alumni, parents and friends have made donations in addition to the lead gift of $10 million given by alumni Paul and Anne-Marie Queally, 86’.

Thomas Gutenberger, vice president of advancement, said the board of trustees named the new welcome center after the Queallys because of their lead gift. The Queallys have given a total of nearly $20 million to the university to date, according to the newsroom.

“Buildings can be named to recognize individuals for their philanthropy or their service and dedication to the university,” Gutenberger said.

In addition to the welcome center, the 33,000-square-foot addition to the Robins School of Business that was built in 2011 was also named after Queally.

Peter Kaufman, a professor in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, expressed his feelings about donations that are made to the university. “Maybe we should give some recognition to the people who donate to the intellectual life rather than athletics and extracurricular life,” he said.

Kaufman also said he wished people would donate more money to things that really matter. “It would be nice to see people donate to the arts and humanities.”

Gil Villanueva, dean of admission, said he and everyone he knew of in admissions and the enrollment management unit was excited for the new facility. “The Queally Center cannot come soon enough,” he said. “This welcome center will really serve as the front door to the university.”

The new center will be located behind Gottwald Science Center and Lora Robins Court. Gutenberger said the building was intended to be a clearly defined first stop for campus visitors.

“It makes perfect sense for our visitors and guests to go through [the River Road] entrance. The road has been redirected to create more of a grand entrance,” Villanueva said. “With [Boatwright Memorial Library], you have to meander down the hill and through the woods. It doesn’t really promote that sense of grandeur.”

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The offices of admission and financial aid, as well as an employer relation’s component with Career Services, will all fall under the same roof in the Queally Center. The building will also contain an assembly hall that will accommodate up to 500 people; Sarah Brunet Hall, the current office of admission, can only hold 120 visitors at a time, Villanueva said.

“The new building is designed to meet the needs that are accommodated within the existing facility and more,” McBride said.

Villanueva explained how Brunet Hall does not always have the available space for events such as open houses and other receptions. There have been some occurrences during events in which the office has held multiple sessions for visitors rather than just one because of the vastness of the group.

“This [new] facility will certainly serve the university very well,” Villanueva said.

Once the Queally Center is finally built, and the admissions office transitions there, Brunet Hall will serve as a “swing building to help facilitate the renovation of other academic buildings,” McBride said. As part of the Campus Master Plan, buildings such as Ryland Hall and North Court need to be emptied for renovation. Throughout reconstruction, the departments that currently reside in these buildings will reorient themselves in Brunet Hall for the time being.

The ultimate fate of Brunet Hall remains ambiguous, McBride said. There is a possibility that it may serve as an administration building in the future.

Contact News Editor Alyssa Gunville at alyssa.gunville@richmond.edu

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