Hundreds of students, faculty, alumni, and donors gathered on Thursday for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Nick and Lou Martin University Center.
Texas Wesleyan President Frederick Slabach said the center, which will open in summer 2019, is made possible after $19 million of donations came in since the plan was first approved for funding by the Board of Trustees in 2014.
“Many of us have anticipated this day for quite some time,” Slabach said. “In many ways the university has been waiting for this day for decades because the leadership of Texas Wesleyan University has dreamed of a new student center since the late 20th century.
“Research shows that students that are as engaged with the university outside of the classroom as they are inside the classroom are much more likely to persist to graduation. I am confident that we are creating a hub of activity that will enhance our ability to engage students in a million meaningful ways and increase their opportunities for success and their persistence to graduation.”
The new center will include “a new student and family welcome center, food court, ballroom that can accommodate 300, bookstore and convenience store, spaces for student organizations and student life offices, lounge areas, meeting rooms and additional office space,” according to txwes.edu.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Tim Carter said that he believes this is a valuable addition to campus.
“This building is gonna be the living heart of the campus,” Carter said. “This is the most significant capital improvement campaign in the last century here. I want y’all to think about once this is done and over the next 25 or 30 years this is how many students, faculty, and community members will be in this building and how it will impact their lives.”
The reduced campus mall area will be named after U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who graduated from Texas Wesleyan in 1965. Granger said she is excited for the new Martin Center for both current students as well as for alumni like herself.
Lou Martin said she is already looking forward to the completion of the building and she hopes that it will help put Wesleyan even more on the radar for the Fort Worth community.
“This is the most exciting event that our family and Texas Wesleyan have ever experienced,” Martin said. “The university needed something like this to have all the functions that we plan to have. It’s going to be a wonderful place for the students to be able to congregate and it will be a real draw for Fort Worth people to come out here and see all the changes that Wesleyan has made.”
Freshman mass communication student Halle Koonce said that she found the ceremony an exciting experience and is looking forward to seeing the new building as it comes into being.
“It was definitely something to remember,” Koonce said. “It was really inviting. I liked seeing everyone that donated that was here. I am so excited for the new building.”
After the ceremony, students and alumni were invited to attend a carnival hosted by Student Affairs. The carnival featured free food, bounce houses, and T-shirts to those in attendance.
Exercise science major Asada Samin said she found the groundbreaking ceremony fascinating, but she was enjoying the carnival even more.
“I didn’t expect this carnival to happen today, but I’m really happy that it did,” Samin said. “It’s always good when we can have a little more fun around campus.”
The Nick and Lou Martin University Center is expected to open in summer 2019. For more information, go to txwes.edu.