Long-time Belmont University Board of Trustees Chair Marty Dickens and his wife Betty joined University employees and students this morning at a grand opening celebration for a new residence named in their honor. Dickens Hall, located near the intersection of 15th and Bernard Avenues, provides approximately 300 beds for Belmont upperclassmen as well as a 562-car underground parking garage. Designed by EOA Architects with construction by R.C. Mathews, the suite-style residence hall opens for students to move into on Sunday.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “With a perfect view of the Nashville skyline from its top floors, it only makes sense to name this building in honor of Marty Dickens, a man who has invested so much time and energy in the betterment of both this University and the city at large. We’re thrilled to be able to provide more living and learning space for our students.”
Dickens Hall serves as a 110,000 square foot residence above a three-level underground parking garage. The underground garage actually stretches nearly twice the length of Dickens Hall; construction on a second residence (Phase Two) providing an additional 190 beds is currently underway with an anticipated completion of January.
The need for additional residence space comes as a result of significant enrollment expansion from 2,976 students in 2000 to what is anticipated to be more than 6,700 this fall. Dickens said, “Belmont University is attracting students from all over the country and around the world, and one of my hopes is that these students would one day have the opportunity to live all four years on campus. It’s an honor for Betty and me to be a part of Belmont University, and it is beyond any dreams to have our family name on a residential building.”
As part of Belmont’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, the new facility incorporates a number of “green” features including a variable flow refrigerant HVAC system, a partially landscaped covered garage area in front of the building, motion sensors on residence room lighting and energy efficient lighting and appliances. The residence hall is also being built within the same footprint of a previously developed campus site; a 56-bed complex was razed, and its debris recycled, to make way for a building plan that will ultimately house nine times that many students.
Marty Dickens retired as president of BellSouth/AT&T-Tennessee in 2007, after being employed by the company for 38 years. In addition to chairing Belmont’s Board of Trustees, he is also lead director of Avenue Bank, a member of Genesco’s board, a member of the board of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of TN and chairman of the board of Harpeth Companies. He is also chair of the Music City Center Authority and board chair of the YMCA of Middle TN. He is a past board chair of both the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has also served on the boards of a number of charitable and community organizations including the Boy Scouts, Adventure Science Center, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Nashville Symphony.
The new residence hall is one of several construction projects on Belmont’s campus, all reflecting the institution’s phenomenal growth and ongoing commitment to Middle Tennessee. Visit http://bebelmont.com/nashville/ for more information on Belmont’s engagement with Nashville.