Brother James Gaffney honored at groundbreaking ceremony for new student center

Photo by Bree Scott.
Brother James Gaffney, Dr. Livingston, and other members of the Board of Trustees break ground where the new student center will be.

Bree Scott, Co-News Editor

Lewis University broke ground for the new Brother James Gaffney Student Center on April 25. Faculty, students, administration and donors gathered across the street from JP II for a special ceremony. A steel beam that will be used in the construction of the new student center was displayed that anyone could sign, with Brother James being the first to make his mark.

“It is a tremendous way to honor Brother James for his 28 years of leading us as a campus,” said William Riley, vice president of the Student Senate.

Many took the podium to express gratitude to Lewis’ donors and share excitement for what this new structure will provide for future students, including but not limited to, Brother James Gaffney himself, Valerie Peterson, president of the student senate, and current president Dr. David Livingston.

“This building brings with it a bigger, more comfortable study space and a sense of community. It is also a more practical place for student organizations to hold meetings and hold events for the Lewis community,” said Peterson. “The new student center starts a new chapter for this school. We are turning a new page. This school continues to provide more and more innovations for its students with new labs and classroom spaces, and it only continues with this new addition.”

What else can Lewis students expect from this new addition on campus? Melissa Churchill, organization senator of the student senate, said that students can expect a 24-hour convenience store, a café, a new dining hall that includes private dining areas that can be reserved for meetings, outdoor balconies, additional meeting rooms and an enhanced gaming area.

“Geographically, Lewis is secluded from places students can easily walk to off campus, and this provides them more room to branch out after class,” said Churchill. “Our in-class experience is very important to our overall experience while at Lewis, but we spend a great deal more time outside of the classroom than inside it. I think we have a great university that recognizes we need growth in these areas for students, and this center is the embodiment of that.”

The construction of the new student center will be complete by fall 2018, and will replace the current Student Union.

“I hope this building is able to provide a community for students to relax and study. I hope it can act as an area where any student, commuter or resident, can feel at home,” said Peterson.

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