MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Lawmakers and community leaders toured the new Chambers College of Business and Economics, Reynolds Hall, the former location of Stansbury Hall, at West Virginia University.
Stansbury Hall was the location of WVU’s basketball clubhouse, where WVU legend Jerry West played. Joshua Hall, associate dean for research and chair of the college’s economics department, said it would be a “hub” of the downtown campus.
The new building has six floors with various labs for tutoring, learning, studying, and everything in between. There’s a computer lab complete with over 40 dueling monitors known as Bloomberg Terminals, a career closet for students to use when on their way to an internship or job interview, access to augmented and virtual reality technology, the Holyman Social Stairwell – inspired by the stairs at Google headquarters, an Einstein Brothers Bagels and a workout center with access to the Mon Rail Trail and the Monongahela River, according to Hall.
“For me, I believe so much in what E. Gordon Gee says about Project 168 – what we do during all hours outside of class and this building is designed for students to spend their time out of hours of class. Between the downtown sports facility on the first floor, the Einstein Brothers Bagels, and all the collaborative spaces on all floors, it’s really going to be a hub on the downtown campus, I think,” Hall said.
Named for WVU alumnus and financier Robert Reynolds and his wife, Laura, who donated $10 million to help build the structure – on nearly 180,000 square feet, Reynolds Hall more than doubles the space available to Chambers College in its current building.
The May 23 tour began with presentations from Hall, WVU President E. Gordon Gee, and Sarah Armstrong Tucker, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and chancellor of the Community and Technical College System. Both expressed how much excitement surrounding the building.
“We have an abundance of opportunities, we just have to make sure we take advantage of them, we don’t waste them, we are fast, agile and driven by the power of our imagination. If we can do that, then we’re going to be successful,” Gee said.
Armstrong stated the importance of any type of higher education, especially in West Virginia, and shared information about resources people might not know about. For example, they increase student financial aid and awareness for college planning and raise mental health awareness on campus.
“This state, probably more than any other state in the country, has invested in student financial aid and yet our students still think our college is not affordable, but it is. We need to get that word out to them, we need to let them know that higher education is affordable in the state of West Virginia, and we’ll find a way to help them pay for it,” Armstrong said.
After the introductions, the guests were divided into group tours where the guests received a short introduction and answered questions.
Guests were also shown where a piece of the floor from the Basketball Club House gymnasium at Stansbury Hall was salvaged and hung on the wall.
Hall said the project had been an idea since he returned to the university as a faculty member 10 years ago. Four years ago the project became a reality and construction started two years ago. The college is nearing full completion, but will be ready for students this fall.
“I feel relieved and excited to be able to welcome our students here in the fall,” Hall said.