Workers hammering along on URI Alumni Center
Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862
KINGSTON, R.I. – August 4, 2004 – It’s starting to look like a home, albeit a very big home.
With all of its windows installed, cedar shingles in place on the front and south sides of the building and a completed roof, the University of Rhode Island’s Alumni Center is looking more and more like “the home away from home” that alumni leaders had envisioned.
“We are very excited now that the building is taking on the characteristics of a finished product,” said Michele Nota, URI’s executive director of Alumni Relations. “People who pass by the center on Upper College Road and those who view online photos of the building’s progress remark on what a beautiful building it will be. We wanted a center that would be warm and welcoming, and clearly we are in the process of achieving our goal."
The Alumni Center will offer meeting and reception space in a gracious and comfortable setting, as well as office suites for the Alumni Association and the Division of University Advancement. It will serve as a hub for the University’s 87,000 alumni, as well as a place to relax and reconnect with fellow alumni.
The three-story structure will provide well-designed office space for more than 60 Alumni Association and Advancement staff members.
“Barbara Feibelman and Gregory Snider have done an excellent job of designing a 21,000-square-foot building that maintains the scale of the wood frame fraternity houses that have traditionally lined the east side of Upper College Road that I remember from my days living on campus,” said Paul DePace, URI’s director of capital projects and a 1966 graduate.
Framing for the offices, conference areas and bathrooms is complete and about 50 percent of the drywall has been installed, according to Raffaele Rotondo, the construction superintendent for the general contractor, DePasquale Building and Realty, Warwick.
The building takes advantage of natural light. The alumni reception area at the northeast corner of the first floor has six French doors. The alumni conference room’s bay window is composed of 10 individual windows.
Construction of the facility began in July 2003, and is expected to be completed in the fall. As the building progresses, crews will begin landscaping and drainage work. Rotondo said workers will install new sidewalks and re-do the parking lot behind the Alumni Center to the Chi Phi fraternity house.
The center is being built on the site of the former Sigma Chi fraternity house. The design provides for generous outdoor and indoor welcoming areas and features a shingled exterior with gables, and front and rear porches.
A stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the 900-square-foot lounge and reception area that opens to both an executive boardroom and an alumni conference room. 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.
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.
The state and the URI Alumni Association are sharing funding for the $4.7 million facility. The state’s share is being paid for through Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corp. revenue bonds. The Alumni Association is contributing $831,800 and has established an endowment to ensure the permanent availability of funds for the maintenance and enhancement of the building.
The architects are Lamborghini/Feibelman Ltd. and Gregory J. Snider of Providence.
View more photos by URI's Nora Lewis at Alumni Center