Student social space on Corner aims for March opening

1515 University Avenue hopes to serve as extension of Grounds

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The building, which was originally expected to open at the beginning of the fall semester, will now open in March. 

Lauren Hornsby | Cavalier Daily

A new student social space on the Corner will now open in March. The center’s opening has been pushed back most recently due to unexpected renovation concerns.

The center will serve as a multi-functional recreational space for students, as well as increase the University’s presence on the Corner.

The new space is the product of collaboration between the University and the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership — a fellowship program at the University — as well as Pennsylvania-based firm Nalls Architecture, run by University alumnus Robert Nalls.

The “1515 Building” — formerly referred to as the Lloyd Building — will serve a range of functions and was designed specifically for and by students, Associate Dean of Students Marsh Pattie said.

“By day, the main floor will serve as a casual social space where students can meet, talk and relax in a comfortable and inclusive environment,” Pattie said in an email statement. “In the evening and at night, the space will continue to serve as a casual gathering spot, but also afford opportunities for performances — musical, step, speaking and others — on the main level stage.”

Pattie noted the space’s purpose as a “key location for a variety of late night activities planned by University Programs Council and other student organizations.”

Fourth-year College student Brittany Hsieh has been involved in designing the main floor, as well as working on the art that will be displayed throughout the building. For Hsieh, student input has been very important.

“Student input has been crucial throughout this process, because this space is for us,” Hsieh said in an email statement. “Everyone working on the project has been working with the mindset of putting students first so that we can move away from an institutional feel of many buildings around Grounds.”

Hsieh said the revamped 1515 Building is an alternative to traditional Corner culture, which she said she believes is prominently influenced by bars and alcohol.

“I think there is a good portion of our student body that don't feel comfortable with how heavily present alcohol and bars are on the Corner, and by designing this space to make these people feel safe and included is extremely important,” Hsieh said.

Pattie echoed these concerns, and touted the space’s planned capacity to aid various student organizations in providing effective counterprogramming.

“Many students share that they seek options beyond the bar scene and they do so for a variety of reasons,” Pattie said. “UPC and a number of CIOs do a great job of providing rich community social opportunities, and the 1515 Building will provide them with a great new venue in a highly visible and accessible location.”

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