The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) continues to grow. As enrollment increases steadily, the university strives to build and maintain state-of-the-art facilities in order to enhance the Cardinals’ college experience. The ever-changing UIW campus has seen a number of buildings and facilities pop up on campus in recent years.
UIW’s latest building project is the construction of the new Student Engagement Center (SEC). Demolition of the former Marian Hall began on Sept. 15 to make way for the $30 million facility. The project is slated for completion in Spring 2017 and will be open to the UIW community the following summer.
The project is intended to enhance the student experience and promote student engagement. Marian Hall was constructed in the 1960s when UIW’s enrollment was approximately 1,500 students. According to university administration, the Marian Hall Student Center has become inadequate in serving UIW’s co-curricular needs in the 21st century.
Director of University Events & Student Programs Paul Ayala sees this project as “a great initiative that will benefit the students and faculty tremendously.”
The state-of-the-art SEC will serve as a central hub for students and the extended UIW community. The Registrar’s Office, Business Office, Financial Aid, First-Year-Engagement and Student Success Offices will have a presence in the center. It will also serve as the one-stop home of services including the print shop, mailroom, health and counseling services, and offices for UIW’s food service company Sodexo Services. It will be more than twice the size of Marian Hall’s previous 50,852 square feet. A multilevel bookstore and spirit shop will also be located in the building.
Cardinals will be able to dine at a new and improved cafeteria and a coffee bar with an indoor area and an outdoor patio. The coffee bar will also double as a pub in the evenings.
Three lounges and recreation facilities including pool and ping-pong will be available to students. There will also be a number of meeting spaces and conference rooms. An 800-seat ballroom, comparable in size to the McCombs Center Rosenberg Sky Room will be used to host events.
The east wing of the Dr. Burton E. Grossman International Conference Center (ICC), formerly the reception hall, Circa 1881 Café, and a patio were developed into a new cafeteria in preparation for the demolition of Marian Hall. The location is currently the primary dining facility on campus. The summer also saw the renovation of Hortencia’s in the basement level of the Administration Building so as to accommodate a larger volume of customers.
To view progress of the construction of the SEC via webcam, visit www.uiw.edu/sec/webcam.html
By Rory Dew, UIW senior