WPI Breaks Ground On New Campus Center This Friday, Oct. 29

Contact: Arlie Corday WPI Media & Community Relations

WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Polytechnic Institute will break ground on its new Campus Center Friday, Oct. 29, at 11 a.m. While the building itself won't be ready until the winter of 2001, observers can watch its progress between now and then on WPI's Web site devoted to the project at http://www.wpi.edu/+campuscenter.

The Campus Center will be a place to hang out, enjoy a snack, find entertainment, mingle and make connections. In your home, it's called a living room; at a college or university, it's called a campus center. At WPI, it's a whole new experience.

"With the ground-breaking just around the corner, the entire WPI community anxiously awaits the construction of the Campus Center, which will be the crossroads of the campus," said one of its chief visionaries, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Janet Begin Richardson. "The campus center will serve as the living room for all of WPI's community members."

Groundbreaking for WPI's new Campus Center will take place Friday, Oct. 29, at 11 a.m. The $17 million project was set in motion almost exactly two years ago in October 1997 when the WPI Board of Trustees approved plans for the 71,000-square-foot building that will face the West Street pedestrian plaza and the main Quadrangle on campus. WPI Board of Trustee Chairman John Nelson, President Edward Alton Parrish and the Campus Center Committee will preside over the ceremonies.

The idea of a WPI campus center, discussed for almost a century, was renewed four years ago with the establishment of the Campus Center Committee.

Chaired by Richardson, the committee determined that a campus center would add significantly to the quality of life at the university. The committee solicited opinions from more than 40 campus focus groups, pored through information from earlier center initiatives, surveyed literature on campus centers worldwide and visited centers throughout the region.

WPI's soon-to-be-built Campus Center was created from those findings. It will provide expanded dining services, space for group study, conference and meeting rooms, multipurpose rooms, offices for student organizations, a bookstore, a postal facility, a game room, lounges and an information desk. The center has been designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, a Boston architectural firm founded in 1874 by Henry Hobson Richardson. The firm has been a major early influence in American architecture design. Academic projects with which the firm has been involved include the original design of Stanford University in 1888 and more than 120 projects for Harvard University.

WPI, an independent technological university founded in 1865, is renowned for its project-based curriculum. Under the WPI Plan, students are provided with unique opportunities to integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and at locations around the world.