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Roberts Wesleyan breaks ground on new community engagement center

Rendering (by architectural firm SWBR) of the new Golisano Community Engagement Center at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Roberts Wesleyan College this week broke ground for a new building that’s being designed to offer closer connections between student and staff, and help them collaborate more easily with the community.

The Golisano Community Engagement Center is a two-story, $15 million building that was partially paid for with a $7.5 million gift from Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano.

Roberts Wesleyan President Deana Porterfeld said the new center will serve as a hub for students and community members to collaborate and connect with each other.

"The center will house the community institutes at Roberts Wesleyan College, which provides certificate and training programs separate from degree-based education offered by the college," Porterfield said at the Tuesday groundbreaking ceremony. "The second main function of the community engagement center is to provide a long needed facility on our campus, a student commons."

Cayleigh Hitchcock, student association president at Roberts Wesleyan, said the limitations caused by the pandemic over the last year helps highlight how important it is to have a place where people can make face-to-face connections.

“This building will not only provide students the opportunity to connect with community members, but it will also give students even better opportunities to connect with one another,” Hitchcock said.

It’s expected to take just over a year to complete construction and the new center is set to open in summer  2022.