Sewanee community lacks information concerning upcoming moves and projects

newsFleming Smith, Anna Mann, and Alicia Wikner
Executive Staff

Sewanee’s campus will be seeing significant changes in the coming months as offices move across campus and construction begins, but little information is publicly available about these projects and how students and staff will be affected.  

Vice-Chancellor John McCardell announced at the Launching of the New Year that the Wellness Commons will break ground on September 22 at the site of the bookstore, which will move into the Hearth Room at the Bishop’s Common. Actual construction will begin on the Wellness Commons in late October or early November, according to Doug Williams, vice president for finance and University treasurer.

Little information is available on how the bookstore’s operation will change. Questions remain on how customers, both from Sewanee and visitors to campus, will navigate the change, and how the Bishop’s Common itself will be different due to having a store inside a building currently devoted to offices and student space.

“We aren’t moving, the University is moving us,” an employee of the Sewanee Bookstore told The Purple. The employee said they had been “kept in the dark” about the move. They were informed by Williams of their upcoming relocation, but have not otherwise received any information.

Offices and organizations that had reserved the Hearth Room for events this semester have scrambled to find different accommodations after the recent announcement that the space would be unavailable.

The new bookstore, which will be located downtown by the Post Office, has been designed, but construction has not begun. According to Frank Gladu, special assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and leader for the development of the Sewanee Village, the bookstore should be open by August 2019.

The Wellness Commons is scheduled to take a year and a half of construction before opening in January 2020. Part of the existing building that currently serves as the Sewanee Bookstore will be removed, and they will be constructing a new building behind it.

Additionally, Carnegie Hall will be experiencing significant changes as the offices for Career and Leadership Development, Civic Engagement, and the Babson Center move into the building while the Philosophy and Global Education offices move to another location, not yet announced. In his speech at the “Launching the New Year” event, McCardell said the changes to Carnegie would “re-energize the Quad.”

However, very little information remains available on the forthcoming changes. When The Sewanee Purple contacted the offices announced to be moving, representatives of the offices said they were unable to speak about the move, as they had received no concrete details on when or how they would be moved.

Most offices involved in the move were only recently informed of the change at the August faculty retreat, although rumors of the move had been swirling before the official announcement.

Their offices were not consulted about the shifts to Carnegie, according to those asked. The Sewanee Purple contacted Dean of the College Terry Papillon about the moves, but he has not responded as of publication.

As these projects move from the planning stage into reality, The Sewanee Purple will seek to answer the questions that both students and staff members have regarding these rapid changes.