This summer Meredith College has continued work on construction projects to further enhance the spaces in which students learn and live. Donor support has enabled the College to move forward with these projects.
New Academic Building
The team working on the new academic building, which will house instructional space for the growing communication and exercise and sports science programs and Meredith athletic offices, has made significant progress after the groundbreaking ceremony on April 30. Underground utility work and grading began immediately. The concrete pour for the base of the building followed by steel I-beam installation allowed the building to begin to take shape in mid-July. Construction is expected to be complete during the 2021-22 academic year.
The building, adjacent to Weatherspoon Gymnasium and the Lowery Fitness Center, will be 13,636 square feet and will include a state-of-the-art recording studio, a podcast room, three editing rooms, two spacious exercise and sports science working classrooms, a collaboration room, and additional classrooms.
With both programs in the same building, there will be opportunities for interdisciplinary work including sports communication coursework and student-based projects that span both areas of study.
“We are eager to have students learning in a high-quality environment replete with the kind of equipment they will need on the job. Equally important is that these fields and activities are keenly connected to the ways our world is changing and preparing our students for that world,” said President Jo Allen.
The building will be fully accessible and will have energy-saving features such as LED lighting and a special roof that will reduce building cooling needs. To add to the beauty of the building, a lobby will have a water feature and fireplace. There will also be patios on the front and side of the building and 18 offices for department heads in communication and exercise and sports science, and athletic staff.
Currently, Institutional Advancement is offering opportunities for individuals and organizations to name spaces within the building, allowing donors to support students and further enhance their education at Meredith.
Design Development Architects designed the new building and Inland Construction headquartered in Garner, N.C., is the general contractor.
The Meredith Lake is an integral part of the experience for students at Meredith. It is the site of classes, productions, small gatherings, and a valuable on-campus resource for students conducting undergraduate research.
In March 2017, the lake drained because of erosion of pipes and plumbing. At that time, alumnae stepped up during the annual Meredith Mayhem competition and raised funds for the lake. After unforeseen obstacles that delayed the start of the project, the lake and the small island are being completely restored to a beautiful spot on campus for all to enjoy.
Much progress has been made this year and the lake and surrounding area are set to be complete in September 2021. Work began in January on the bulkhead surrounding the small island. Construction crews battled Mother Nature and unusually high amounts of rain as they excavated around the island to get a solid foundation for the new retaining wall. In some areas, they excavated more than 12 feet down and added over 1,500 tons of stone to ensure the footing was solid.
“The new wall is made up of concrete blocks, most weighing more than a Corvette, that interlock like legos to create a visually pleasing and super strong structure that will stand the test of time. All trees were cleared from the dam and the dam was reconstructed to be stronger than ever,” said Todd Lechner, assistant facility manager and project manager.
The dam was also increased in height and width to meet the 100 year storm calculations provided by the State Board.
In mid-August, the bridge was installed connecting the small island so people can walk over and enjoy a quiet spot on campus. A gift from Kellie Falk, ʼ85, and her classmates made this renovation possible.
Once complete, a celebration for all who donated to the Lake will take place.
The Nutrition Lab located in Martin Hall has undergone major renovations this summer. It is set to be complete and ready for students in the fall 2021 semester. The new lab will provide students with hands-on learning experiences that will simulate the environment they will work in outside of Meredith in areas such as nutrition education, sales, food service management, public policy or health fields, and the local and sustainable food industry.
The renovation was made possible by Roy Nifong, father of Marianne Nifong Raker, ʼ72, who was a home economics major at Meredith. The gift is in memory of his wife and Raker’s mother, Grace.
The entire space was demolished and the area expanded into the adjacent hallway beginning in May. The bigger space will provide an open feeling between the classroom space and the actual kitchen.
The space has all new gas lines, electrical, water, and drain systems. A full-size hood system was installed with a dedicated air conditioning unit, complete with new ductwork for the HVAC and the exhaust hood system.
Movable shelving units are being installed that allow ease of flexibility when teaching and learning. A large pantry, walk-in freezer and refrigerators, three restaurant-grade ranges, convection oven, induction range with oven, multiple sinks, dishwasher, and many more amenities are included in the new industrial kitchen.
The Wake County Health Department was consulted on the design so the entire project has been built to health department standards and will give students real-world experience in a commercial environment.
To see construction photos of the new spaces, visit meredith.edu/campus-growth.