IMPORTANT NOTE: These are the archived stories for Belmont News & Achievements prior to June 26, 2023. To see current stories, click here.

HomeAdministrationBelmont Breaks Ground on New Academic and Dining Services Complex

Belmont Breaks Ground on New Academic and Dining Services Complex

Dining services partner Sodexo invests in project; Extensive campus growth contributes to University’s significant economic impact in Middle Tennessee

This afternoon Belmont University broke ground on a new academic and dining services complex that is anticipated to cost $55 million, bringing the University’s total investment in construction projects since 2003 to a staggering $442 million. In addition, campus dining services provider Sodexo announced today that the company is investing in the construction as part of their ongoing partnership with Belmont University.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “Like all of our projects, this new complex is being designed to add to the quality of life and the improvement of learning for the entire Belmont community, especially our students. I’m proud that these additions to our physical campus also impact our local economy and culture, creating thousands of jobs right here in Nashville and further cementing our city’s reputation as the Athens of the South.”

The new dining services complex will be one part of a four-story 116,000-square-foot building, and it will provide a seating capacity that is 2.5 times larger than the current campus cafeteria. Beyond supporting the construction costs, Sodexo also announced today that it would provide 20 full meal plans at no cost to support the University’s “Bridges to Belmont” program that was officially launched at an event this morning.

In discussing Sodexo’s 20-years as Belmont’s dining services provider, Sodexo Senior Vice President Fred Formichella said, “From day one we’ve been considered a partner, not a vendor like what sometimes occurs at other campuses. [Belmont’s] vision and mission talk about excellence, and you really work to be the best at what you do. We at Sodexo get that, and we look forward to being your partner for many years to come.”

Belmont Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Susan West added, “Focus groups were conducted with students, faculty and staff to get their ideas about dining options and the overall aesthetics for this new facility. That information was compiled and shared with the parties responsible for the building’s design. I am proud to report that, due to those good efforts, our campus community will benefit greatly from improved dining services in this facility. Anyone with additional suggestions or input is welcome to contact me as this project begins to take shape.”

Classrooms and faculty/staff offices will comprise approximately 70 percent of the building. Several academic programs—including music business and media studies—have been invited to submit proposals for how occupying the new space could creatively enhance their efforts or provide opportunities for greater innovation within their units.

The new facility will also include the construction of a 1,000 space underground parking garage. With this addition, Belmont will have added a grand total of more than 4,800 new parking spaces to campus since 2003. Site preparation has begun, and blasting for the garage is scheduled to begin April 1. The complex, which is aiming for LEED certification, is expected to open for the fall semester of 2015.

In addition to this project, Belmont continues to invest in the physical campus to enhance the resources the institution can offer its growing student body. The University reached a record-breaking enrollment of 6,647 students last fall, more than double the counts from a mere decade ago.

Belmont’s decade of growth extends far beyond the campus, reaching into the local economy. Since 2000, Belmont has introduced 12,000 graduates into the economy, many of whom choose to live in Middle Tennessee, while also increasing faculty positions by 71 percent and staff positions by 56 percent. The University has also created nearly 2,000 construction jobs in that same time frame with 90 percent of vendors hailing from Tennessee.

Other current and recent construction projects include the following:

Other Upcoming Construction

New Residence Hall: As a part of a continuing effort to provide on-campus living experiences, a 418-space residence hall with a mix of suite-style and apartment-style rooms will be constructed on the east side of 15th Avenue across from Kennedy Hall. The 141,000 square foot six-story building will also include 354 additional parking spaces in a garage adjacent to the Thrailkill Parking Garage. Construction is expected to begin later this month, and the residences should be ready for occupancy by fall of 2014.

Current Construction

Wedgewood Academic Center (likely not the final name for this building): The 188,000-square-foot building will sit on the corner of Wedgewood and 15th Avenues and 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. Slated to open in fall 2014, the building will also include a five-level underground parking garage and will connect to both the Inman Center and McWhorter Hall. Since Belmont’s general education/core curriculum requires courses in writing, speech, math and religion, among others, every undergraduate will take classes in the new academic center. In addition, the center will house a 280-seat chapel, a dining venue, 30 classrooms that vary in seating capacity, state-of the-art laboratories and conference room space. Click here to view a 3-D rendering of the center.

Most Recent Openings (2012-13)

Baskin Center: The 75,000 square foot, three-story Baskin Center, which opened in August 2012, sits atop a five-level underground garage and houses the College of Law, a program in its second year of classes. The brick and limestone building contains more than a dozen classrooms, a 21st Century trial courtroom, an appellate courtroom, a two-story law library and more than 20 faculty offices.

McAfee Concert Hall: Belmont also completed a $9 million renovation of another building on campus last fall to create the new 857-seat McAfee Concert Hall, which houses a 55-rank Aeolian Skinner organ. The design concept for the hall was developed in consultation with the architects and acousticians involved with the construction of Nashville’s renowned Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Acousticians conducted extensive, carefully documented scientific studies and developed a plan for the building that eliminates ambient noise, expands the volume of space to optimal acoustic proportions for a large orchestra and chorus and creates optimal sound diffusion.

Two New Residence Halls: Dickens Hall, which opened in fall 2012, provides approximately 300 beds for Belmont upperclassmen as well as a 562-car underground parking garage. An adjoining residence hall, Horrell Hall, providing an additional 190 beds opened in January 2013.

Related Articles