URI breaks ground for Alumni Center
$4 million facility to be home away from home for alumni
KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 12, 2003 -- By the fall of 2004, the 87,000 alumni of the University of Rhode Island will have a home away from home on URIs Kingston Campus. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held today for construction of the Universitys first Alumni Center.
The three-story, 21,000-square-foot facility will offer meeting and reception space for visiting URI alumni and friends, and it will provide office space for the 60 employees in the URI Division of University Advancement.
"The Alumni Center will be a place where we can welcome our alumni and celebrate their achievements," said Robert Beagle, URIs vice president for University Advancement. "It will be a proper place that all graduates of the University can call home."
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Beagle was joined at the podium by URI President Robert L. Carothers, Alumni Association Executive Director Michele Nota, and Alumni Association President Kathleen Goulding.
The Center will be built on the site of the former Sigma Chi fraternity house on Upper College Road and adjacent to the International Engineering Program house. The design provides for generous outdoor and indoor welcoming areas and features a shingled exterior with French doors, bays, gables, and front and rear porches.
On the first floor, a stone fireplace highlights the 900-square-foot lounge and reception area that opens to both an executive boardroom and an alumni conference room with a grand bay window. The Alumni Office and the Department of Communications/News Bureau will be located on the first floor as well. The second floor will house the Office of the Vice President for Advancement and the Development Office. The Publications Office and Advancement Services will be located on the third floor.
"The Alumni Center will be a place where URI alumni can come and relax before or after meetings or campus events, a place where they can meet up with friends, and a place for events and meetings of their own," explained Nota. "It will also be the site of numerous alumni reunions and other Alumni Association events. With flexible indoor and outdoor venues, its likely that other campus groups may host some of their meetings in the Center, too."
Alumni leaders and University officials have long studied the feasibility of a multi-purpose Alumni Center. First proposed in 1980, the Center was put on hold because of more pressing capital needs elsewhere on campus. Since that time, a number of proposals have been pursued.
"With the significant expansion of Alumni Association activities in recent years, and the heavy demands put on Davis Hall, where Alumni and Advancement personnel presently work, we decided that now is the time to move forward with the Center," said Beagle.
Funding for the $4 million facility is being shared by the state and the URI Alumni Association, which is contributing $480,000 to the project. The states share is being paid for through R.I. Health and Educational Building Corp. revenue bonds. In addition, an endowment has been established to ensure the permanent availability of funds for the maintenance and enhancement of the building.
"We have not reached out to any alumni for private contributions, but they have approached us wanting to participate and support the project," said Beagle. Numerous naming opportunities are available in the building for those interested.
The general contractor for the project is DePasquale Building and Realty Co. of Warwick. The architects are Lamborghini/Feibelman Ltd. and Gregory J. Snider of Providence. Construction is expected to begin July 1, with completion scheduled for fall 2004.