The Wire @ WPI Online
VOLUME 13, NO. 1     DEC 1999

Campus center construction commences

Top, in recognition of their concerted, long-term efforts, former SGA presidents were invited back to campus to see their dream becoming a reality. Bottom, Chouinard and Parrish lift the first bucket of earth.

Under cloudless skies and surrounded by glorious fall colors, about 500 members of the greater WPI community--students, trustees, alumni, faculty and staff--gathered before noon on Oct. 29 for one of the most eagerly anticipated events in recent WPI history. With a ceremonial turning of earth and a burst of fireworks, the University formally kicked off the construction of a new 71,000-square-foot campus center.

Expected to be completed in early 2001, the campus center will provide a new focus for community at WPI and become an integral element of the University's overall academic and social programs. Designed by the Boston firm of Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, the $17 million building will be located at the center of the campus, within a quick walk of the University's residence halls, academic buildings and athletic facilities.

Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included John M. Nelson, retired chairman of The TJX Companies and chairman of the WPI Board of Trustees, WPI President Edward Alton Parrish, and Janet Begin Richardson, dean of student life and chair of the Campus Center Committee. "This is a momentous day in the history of WPI," Richardson said. "Today we mark the beginning of the construction of WPI's 'third tower.' Just as Boynton Hall and Washburn Shops have served the WPI community for generations, so the campus center will forever be celebrated as the hearthstone of the WPI campus."

Also speaking were Anne-Marie Chouinard '00, president of the Student Government Association, Francis J. Weber, president of the Graduate Student Organization, and Judith Nitsch '75, president of Judith Nitsch Engineering Inc. and chairman of the Physical Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees. After the talks, most of the speakers, along with John Miller, director of physical plant, Patricia Graham Flaherty '75, president of the WPI Alumni Association, Elizabeth Erickson, the building's architect, and James S. Demetry, professor of electrical and computer engineering and secretary of the faculty, turned over a ceremonial spade of earth. Then, Parrish and Chouinard took the controls of an excavator and broke ground in more spectacular fashion. To top off the festivities, fireworks burst into view over the athletic fields.

I Spy... a Campus Center!

No matter how far you live from the campus, or how infrequently your travels take you to Worcester, you can keep up with the construction of WPI's new campus center. Just visit the new campus center Web page,, where, in addition to a wealth of information about the center and its history, you will find photos from two Webcams--one located atop Goddard Hall, and one peeking down from the roof of Higgins House. The view is updated every 20 minutes, so you won't miss a single construction milestone.

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Last modified: Mar 02, 2005, 12:38 EST