A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday, Jan. 16, to mark the beginning of a renovation project that will transform Bowers Hall, home of the Walla Walla University School of Business. Plans call for the addition of more than 3,000 square feet to the building, and renovation and reorganization of the more than 11,000 square feet of existing space.
To ensure that WWU continues to develop excellent business leaders, the university and generous donors will invest $4 million to transform the 1920s-era building. The project will include an innovation classroom and laboratory, technologies that enhance digital learning, efficient group study spaces, and multifunctional meeting spaces.
The groundbreaking took place at noon following CommUnity, the weekly campus gathering of students, faculty, and staff in the University Church. After weeks of snow accumulation and temperatures in the teens and single digits, the sun broke through the clouds to shine on the crowd gathered for the ceremony on the south side of Bowers Hall.
Mark Remboldt, treasurer of the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, member of the WWU Board of Trustees, and member of the WWU Life.Changing. Campaign Committee, began the ceremony with prayer for the project; for WWU students, faculty, and staff; for the construction crew; and for the many donors whose generosity has made the project possible.
Imagine the possibilities
WWU President John McVay invited all to imagine the finished project, which is scheduled to be completed this fall in time for the opening of the 2017–2018 academic year. McVay described the new space as “an environment that is tuned to cutting-edge School of Business education and project-based learning with lots of circulation space and lots of community-building space. It will be a grand and glorious day.”
“I am so proud of our School of Business,” said McVay. “The Lord has built our School of Business, and now we together get to do the easy part and wrap a state-of-the-art building around that School of Business.”
McVay noted that fall 2016 enrollment in the School of Business has grown to 196 majors and 64 minors. “This will be their new home!” he said.
As part of the transformation planning, a project committee reviewed everything from classroom capacity and future business curriculum to best practice teaching methods for tomorrow’s digital world.
“Bowers Hall has durably served Walla Walla University in so many ways,” says Jodi Wagner, vice president for University Relations and Advancement. “Now, generous donors are ensuring that this tradition continues by transforming the space for the future. Their gifts are truly investments in tomorrow’s business leaders and in Walla Walla University.”
Groundbreaking participants were: George Bennett, WWU director of Facility Services; Larry Dodds, member of the WWU Board of Trustees, and member of the WWU Life.Changing. Campaign Committee; Josefer Montes, dean of the WWU School of Business; Brandan Patchett, current business student and president of the WWU Business Club; McVay; Remboldt; and Wagner.
Among the most historical buildings on campus, initial construction on Bowers Hall was completed in 1924 and in 1955 named in honor of George Bowers, the college’s 13th president. It has been home to WWU science programs, the history and philosophy department, the archaeology laboratory, and the School of Theology. The School of Business moved into Bowers Hall in 2009.
The Bowers Hall project helps launch the WWU $35 million Life.Changing. comprehensive campaign, which in addition to the Bowers transformation includes creating a Student Life and Ministry Center and growing the university endowment.
Watch a recording of the groundbreaking ceremony at wallawalla.edu/Bowers-Hall.
Posted January 17, 2017