Upon their arrival at the start of this semester, students walked onto a different campus than before. Construction on the new Charles F. Dolan School of Business has finished, and the Barnyard Manor now stand tall just across the road from it. Along with those additions, The Einstein Brothers Bagels that used to be in the John A. Barone Campus Center is now a Dunkin’ Donuts, and the DiMenna-Nyselius Library has undergone a renovation of its own.
But Fairfield University isn’t done with new construction. Beginning in 2020, Alumni Hall will be torn down and on the site, plans were recently announced to build a Convocation Center, to open in 2021. According to a recent article on News@Fairfield’s website, the Center will have 3,500 seats and be 85,00 square feet. “The new facility will boast a state-of-the-art broadcast and media center, luxury seating and lounge areas, and updated features that will truly make it a showpiece of Fairfield’s modern campus,” the article stated.
The construction of the new convocation center is estimated to cost $45 million. According to fairfieldstags.com, fundraising is “on target” and “final Convocation Center approvals from the Fairfield University Board of Trustees and the Town of Fairfield are on track, and the projected financing, which is critical, is proceeding as planned.”
“I am beyond excited for the Convocation Center to take place in the year 2021,” wrote Ashley Cyr ‘23 via electronic message. “I believe this new change will inspire more individuals to take part in the Fairfield Community, while allowing new opportunities to take place. This change is a great way for our community to socialize and become more involved in the activities at Fairfield University.”
“I’m definitely excited for the change even though I’ll have graduated by the time it is completed,” wrote Katie Knapik ‘21 also via electronic message. “One of my favorite things about Fairfield is how committed they are to constantly developing and improving the school.”
The new convocation center will likely bring a change to Fairfield University’s athletics as well. The fairfieldstags.com website describes the new building as “a multi-use space for basketball games, volleyball games, university events, and concerts.” This could mean that more home basketball games will be played on campus as opposed to Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, where the majority of the basketball team’s games are currently housed. According to an article on the fairfieldstags.com website, “While basketball and volleyball will undoubtedly use the new arena the most, when it comes to recruiting Division I athletes to Fairfield University, the Convocation Center is poised to benefit all Stags athletics programs.” The new facility will also include varsity locker rooms, a training room for sports medicine staff, a film room and a room for team meals. Overall, the university promises to “revolutionize the Stags home game and campus event experience.”
This could lead to greater turnout at University athletic events. “We’ve been so fortunate to be able to use Webster Bank Arena as a facility for many of our home sports games, but there’s nothing that can match the energy of the crowd when a game is played here on campus,” said Knapik. “I think that having all of our athletic events held at Fairfield will encourage more students to get out and attend the games.”
“I would attend more sporting events, like basketball and volleyball games, at the new Convocation Center,” added Cyr. “In previous games at Alumni Hall, my friends and I struggled to find a seat to watch a volleyball game. However, with this new advancement to Fairfield University, I believe a ‘bigger and better’ scenery will allow more students like my friends and I to sit comfortably and enjoy the games.”
Overall, the new convocation center gives future students something to look forward to and alumni a source of pride. “It makes me excited as a current student,” said Knapik, “and I know I’ll be proud as an alumni knowing that Fairfield continues to put effort into bettering the students and the campus community as a whole.”