Belmont University celebrated the official topping out today for the 188,000-square-foot Wedgewood Academic Center siting above a 430-space parking garage on the corner of Wedgewood and 15th Avenues. The building will house most departments from the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the School of Religion, providing much-needed classroom and lab space for the growing University. The center will house a 280-seat chapel, a coffee and sandwich shop, 30 classrooms that vary in seating capacity, state-of the-art laboratories, study rooms and conference room space. Anticipated to cost $76.5 million, the structure connects on three floors to both the Inman Center and McWhorter Hall.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This structure is the product of significant collaboration among the students, staff, faculty and leadership team. It is clear that we really are ‘better together!’”
The topping out marked the completion of the concrete structure and five-level underground parking garage. Since Belmont’s general education and core curriculum requires courses in writing, speech, math and religion, among others, every undergraduate will take classes in the Wedgewood Academic Center. The building is designed for interdisciplinary collaboration and planned collisions between students and faculty.
Dr. Thomas Burns, who serves as Belmont’s Provost overseeing all academic programs, added “From inception, our faculty and students have been involved in helping to design a facility that serves current needs, provides extraordinary potential for our future and creates an environment where collaboration and community will help define the future of higher education. Today’s topping out ceremony brings us one step closer to realizing our shared vision.”
As part of Belmont’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, the University is seeking Platinum-level LEED Certification for the Wedgewood Academic Center. The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a feature-oriented rating system that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria. The new facility is incorporating a number of green features including a green roof adjacent to biology lab space, garage recycling room and trash compactor, motion-sensor lighting in all offices, classrooms and labs and a variable flow refrigerant HVAC system.
Designed by ESa with construction by R.C. Mathews, the academic building will be complete and ready for occupancy by fall 2014.