Center for Diversity and Inclusion to be completed by October

Construction on Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Construction on Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Organizations formerly housed in the Dorothy Brown House and the AAAS House on Hanna Street will be getting a new and improved building in record time.

    A new Center for Diversity and Inclusion is scheduled to open in early October on DePauw’s campus, according to Bob Leonard, interim vice-president for finance and administration.

    The center will be located across from the Richard E. Peeler Center of Fine Arts and was created in order to provide a permanent place for student groups to meet after DePauw University Facilities Management Department?  found that the Dorothy Brown Center was irreparable. The Dorothy Brown Center was home to several identification affinity groups on campus.

    “That’s what the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is going to be is another place for student support for out of class learning to be able to happen to prepare all of our students to go out in a global world and be successful in whatever fields that they choose to go into,” Myrna Hernandez, dean of students, told The DePauw.

    DePauw alumni Justin and Darrianne Christian, both class of ‘95, have provided DePauw with over half a million dollars towards the project.

    Safely moving utility power lines connected to part of campus and the wider Greencastle community was one of the challenges the construction crew faced over the summer. “All of that is now underground, which is a desired improvement to get as much of that from being aerial to underground,” Warren Whitesell, director of facilities and project manager, said.  

    The Association for African-American students (A.A.A.S.), Committee for Latino Concerns (CLC), International Student Association, Asian American/Pacific Islander Initiative, United DePauw and many other student organizations will be frequently using the new center to hold meetings and events. “Any identity affinity group, even if they didn’t have a specific space in one of the previous centers, will be able to utilize the center, get support in the center, meet in the center, use the resources of the center,” Hernandez said.

    Along with the resources and space provided for students, Hernandez said, staff in multicultural, international, and LGBT student services respectively will be housed there as well.

    The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will be equipped with two kitchens, meeting spaces, a salon and barber shop that will cater to a variety of hair types, a library and other resources for student groups on campus.

    “I think it’s great, it’s big, (it) has a lot of stuff going on inside,” said sophomore Kyra Martin. (It’s) even better because a lot of people can’t get their hair done here.”

   The Center for Diversity and Inclusion is important to the DePauw community, which is why construction is being completed quickly. “One of the reasons it was built fast was because of the need… you have a host of those student organizations that were previously meeting in spaces that really needed some attention,” Whitesell said.

    Although the building has had positive feedback, some students are not fond of the location. “I think it’s going to be a good idea, but I don’t really like the location because it’s almost off campus, but it’s a give and take,” sophomore Kamil Hester said.

    The Center for Diversity and Inclusion will provide groups who previously did not have a meeting place with a space to hold events and meetings. “I think it’s nice that we now have a concrete space,” Hester said, “an area that’s permanent where we can do all of our functions or just have meetings.”

Correction: A previous version of this story said the Bartlet Alumni House would be taken down. It is the Charter House that will be demolished, not the Bartlet House.