Nearly half of the ambitious Campbell Leads fundraising campaign will go toward the much-needed student union, a building expected to make a huge impact in the life and history of this campus.
New facilities have been high priority at Campbell since the turn of the century. Additional residence halls have been a necessity to keep up with Campbell’s growing undergraduate population. A new health sciences campus was necessary to house the School of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Nursing and other programs; and the School of Law’s move to downtown Raleigh was a strategic move to position Campbell’s law students in the heart of North Carolina’s capital city.
The John W. Pope Convocation Center, which turned 10 last year, was a dramatic improvement over its predecessor, Carter Gym. The Convocation Center has served several other purposes in its first decade, chief among them the site of fall and spring graduations and other major events.
But the one missing component in Campbell’s transformation in the past 20 years has been a central hub where students can socialize and where student organizations can have a place to call “home.” The student union will fill that void.
Built in 1978, the existing Wallace Student Union is only just under 11,000 square feet, and only 2,884 square feet of that space is designated for dining, studying and socializing. With more than 4,725 undergraduate students on campus, the current facility averages just 2.32 square feet per student – that’s barely one square floor tile per student (which makes for tight social gatherings). The standard student union at colleges or universities in the U.S. provides roughly 20 square feet of space for full-time undergrads.
To put the size of the new student union into perspective – the current (soon-to-be “old”) facility has a maximum capacity of 93 students. The banquet hall in the new building alone will be able to hold up to 800 people. “We join the good company of many universities across this country who have recently completed a student union, are currently constructing a student union or have made plans to build one in the near future,” said Dennis Bazemore, vice president for Student Life. “These universities all over the country are seeing the need and the importance of having a modern state-of-the-art facility for students, faculty and staff.”
Bazemore said he is convinced Campbell students will spend much of their time in the student union and will “grow intellectually, develop leadership skill, clarify important values for life, develop meaningful interpersonal relationships and learn the art of collaboration with other students.”
“Student wellness” is also at the heart of the planning and designs for the student union. The two-story fitness center will offer more than twice the space of current fitness facilities on campus and will include spaces for group fitness and personal training. The building will also provide a sense of “community” to not only Campbell, but Harnett County as well. The open floor plan is designed to bring people together to study, meet and get involved in activities on campus.
“A student union is often called the front door or the living room of a campus, it is designed to be the center or the hub of activities,” Bazemore said. “The place to meet. The place for student involvement. The place to eat. The place for group events, clubs and organizations to hold their meetings. A place just to gather. This facility has been needed at Campbell for a long time.”
Story courtesy of Billy Liggett, Director of Publications & Campbell Magazine Editor. To learn about the Campbell Leads campaign and how to support the student union, visit campaign.campbell.edu.