KINGSON, R.I. – November 1, 2006 – The University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing celebrated the opening of a new student center today that resembles a trendy coffee house. It is equipped with wireless Internet access and stylish and comfortable furnishings.
College of Nursing Dean Dayle Joseph welcomed students, faculty, alumni, and staff, as well as hospital officials to the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the new center. The program marked completion of the first major renovation project at White Hall, which has been home to the College of Nursing since 1976.
“The former student lounge on the second floor was cramped, and the furniture was outdated and worn,” Joseph said. “When the College celebrated its 60th Anniversary last year, we wanted to do something for our students, so our fund-raising events, including the gala event, “Too Marvelous for Words,” were focused on raising money for this wonderful facility.”
Nearly $400,000 was raised exclusively through private donations for the project.
With walls of glass, display areas and decorative metal work, the White Hall Commons is now the centerpiece of the second floor. At the entrance, the seal from the URI College of Nursing pin is affixed above the words “White Hall Nursing Commons.”
The area is designed to accommodate students’ distinct study and relaxation needs, so in some sections large groups can collaborate without disturbing those students who need a quieter atmosphere.
Joseph wanted to avoid carpeting in such a high-traffic area that will also have snack and coffee machines. Instead, she insisted on high quality linoleum that mimics hardwood flooring. Gates have been installed that can be lowered when the area is not in use.
To expand the area, two small seminar rooms, two locker rooms, a lavatory and a student kitchen were eliminated. “The seminar rooms were poorly configured and not conducive to learning,” Joseph said. “Some lockers have been refurbished as part of the design and are still being used.”
When asked about students’ reaction to the area, Joseph said, “they just can’t believe it. Since the summer when construction began, students have been taking note of the progress and are grateful for this bright, attractive area they can call home.”
Along with Joseph, Cynthia Sculco, URI nursing alumna and recent recipient of a University Distinguished Achievement Award and Ken Kermes, chair of the White Hall Nursing Commons building committee, spoke at the opening.
In addition to thanking the donors, the URI Division of Advancement, Dining Services, Facilities Services and staff of the College, Joseph offered special thanks to Barbara Thornton, principal of the Brewster Thornton Architectural Group, who designed the project and to Greg Garvin, superintendent of the Gilbane Special Projects Group who managed the construction.
“Without the hard work and dedication of all of these individuals, this project would not have been possible,” Joseph said.