Meredith’s campus will soon have a new academic building. The construction was approved at the spring meeting of Meredith’s Board of Trustees in March. According to Meredith’s website, the new building will house the Exercise and Sports Science (ESS) program and the Communication program, two departments that have been vying for new spaces for a long time. The building will be constructed near Weatherspoon Gymnasium, replacing the current Weatherspoon Annex, and is projected to be completed in time to hold classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
This new building is an exciting addition to Meredith’s campus for several reasons. For one, the Exercise and Sports Science program has been housed in leased trailers since 2001. However, earlier this semester the trailers were deemed no longer suitable for holding classes. The need for a new space for the ESS department, which had existed for a long time, was heightened severely following that call, leading to the approval of the new building. According to Dr. Melinda Campbell, Head of Nutrition, Health and Human Performance, it is not only current students and faculty who are excited about the new building, but also alumnae of the ESS program, who are “especially elated and willing to contribute to this expansion.” The new space will provide much-needed laboratory space for ESS, particularly their undergraduate research program, as well as areas for “athletic staff who desperately need sufficient office space to meet with recruits, parents, and current players” according to Campbell.
The Communication department, which is currently housed in Harris Building, will benefit from the move to a new building as well. Dr. Teresa Holder, Head of Communication, shared that the plans for the new building came as a “complete and really great surprise” to her department and that they are “excited to be neighbors with the ESS program and about ways to collaborate with them, like with sports communication.” Campbell shared this sentiment, adding that her department “looks forward to sharing space with a strong and growing Communication department.”
With the Communication department’s planned vacancy of Harris, the Business program can expand throughout the building. This expansion will be much needed due to Meredith’s new Hospitality Management program, which is accepting students starting in Fall 2019 as a part of the School of Business. Moving one of the two departments housed in Harris to the new building will provide more room for each department to grow without being crowded by the other.
Though many details about Meredith’s new academic building have not yet been released, the Meredith community will no doubt be keeping an ear out for updates. The new academic building will bring not only a new home for several departments, but also new spaces for students to study and gather. As Campbell put it, “any time the College makes this kind of commitment to better serve students, everyone on campus moves forward in some way… this building is a blessing for many and represents a better future for us all.”
By Olivia Slack, Features Editor