Written by Suzy Fudge
Megaphone Staff Editor
On Thursday, Jan. 24, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Center for Lifelong Learning was held in the Bishop’s Lounge.
Although no ground was actually broken during the ceremony, it represented an important landmark in the building’s planning.
All funding for the Center for Lifelong Learning is complete, and the administration hopes that construction will begin by this summer.
The building’s full name will be the Charles & Elizabeth Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning, but many have already begun to refer to it as the CLL.
It will be located on the pentagon-shaped strip of grass between Olin and Mabee.
Sophomore Marcos Duran said, “That’s nice green grass that we’re going to miss.”
Although construction on the building will unavoidably kill grass, it will fortunately be built in a such a way as to minimize its environmental impact.
A sign near the future building site has information about the Center for Lifelong Learning, but many students are still unclear about the exact purpose of the CLL.
Many clever students have ascertained that the building will promote lifelong learning.
Others have ideas about how the CLL will benefit particular programs.
“I know it’s supposed to be a Paideia building or something,” sophomore Sarah Ferrero said.
The CLL will indeed have a Paideia center.
The Paideia program was developed to help students become well-rounded citizens of their community. Paideia Scholars join a cohort their sophomore year and stay with the same cohort until graduation.
The program allows each individual cohort flexibility in determining their meeting times and goals. Currently, there is no centralized location for the Paideia program.
The Center for Lifelong Learning will house many offices and programs related to Paideia.
Students, including Paideia scholars, will be able to use the building’s facilities, classrooms and communal space.
Dr. David Gaines has been a Paideia Professor for five years, and he has been the director of the program for the past two years.
He hopes that the communal space in the CLL will be something like a “living room for Paideia scholars and professors.”
Dr. Gaines stressed that the CLL will not just benefit Paideia scholars. It is anticipated that the Center will house many offices currently located in Cullen and Mood Bridwell, including the Registrar and Business Office.
It is likely the Office of Intercultural Learning and the relatively new Office of Civic Engagement will move to the CLL.
While these two offices work with students in the Paideia program, they are relevant to students in all disciplines.
Career Services will move from McCook-Crain Building to the CLL. The move will place Career Services closer to the majority of students who live on campus
The Center for Lifelong Learning will help centralize student services, and it will also increase the accessibility of some offices.
The Center for Academic Success will move from its current location on the third floor of Cullen to the CLL. The floors in Cullen are uneven in places, and some students have had problems with the elevator.
Junior Amy Litzinger is excited about this office’s relocation.
“The Cullen Building is so old that it’s going to be hard for them to expand the elevator,” Litzinger said. She noted that it’s ironic that “the office of accessibility is in an inaccessible building.”
Interestingly enough, the initial plans for the CLL set aside space for the Center for Academic Success on the third – not first – floor of the building.
However, the final plans for the building layout are still under way.
Some of the offices that were originally going to be located in the CLL will instead be located in the new admissions building. Construction on the admissions building will most likely begin before construction on the CLL.
The Center for Lifelong Learning is an $11 million project that has been funded by donations, not by student tuition.
The Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust of Wichita Falls provided the initial $2 million for the project. However, to receive the money, the university had to raise an additional $8.5 million by 2009. This goal was reached early last year.
Many of the donors’ names are familiar to Southwestern students. The university received $1 million from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma; $3.5 million from the Perkins-Prothro Foundation of Wichita Falls; $1 million from the Grogan Lord Foundation of Georgetown and a donation from The Fondren Foundation.
Many other foundations, organizations and individuals contributed to the project financially.
As Gaines said, the CLL “will not just change the campus architecturally.”
It will provide a space for students to study and meet outside of class. It will be a centralized location for many student services. It will be a place where students and community members can work side by side.
The Center for Lifelong Learning will hopefully have a positive impact on the atmosphere and community at Southwestern. Let’s say thanks to all the generous donors who have made this project possible.