Witherspoon Student Center Renovation Planning Begins

Witherspoon Student Center

On Monday, April 17, 2017, architects from Perkins + Will unveiled preliminary design concepts for the highly anticipated renovation of Witherspoon Student Center, home of the African American Cultural Center, Military and Veteran Services, Passport Services, an interfaith prayer and meditation space, several student organizations and the cinema.

The building was named in 1995 for Dr. Augustus M. Witherspoon, who began his career as a graduate student in botany in 1969. Witherspoon earned the second doctorate ever awarded to an African American at NC State and later served as professor, associate dean and vice provost of African American Affairs. Witherspoon Student Center is the only building on campus named for an African American.

Renowned architect and NC State alumnus Phil Freelon and Zena Howard, who led the team that designed the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., attended the unveiling to speak about the renovation and funding opportunities. Freelon will design the new entrance and addition on the west side of the building.

The renovation will include needed repairs and maintenance but also modernize and transform the structure into a more usable and attractive space for student and community use. Attendees expressed excitement at the possibilities, which included more open space for meetings, an inviting facade, a cafe, easier access between floors and better integration into the surrounding landscape, building and street areas.

Senior Director of Campus Community Centers Reggie Barnes will gather community feedback on the initial design concepts and coordinate discussions about resources and fundraising. Perkins + Will will provide a final report in August that will include design and budget projections.

Reggie Barnes is senior director of campus community centers.