College leaders, local elected officials and the benefactors for whom the building is named all took part in Central Piedmont Community College's dedication of the 184,000 square-foot Parr Center today.
The Parr Center is the largest building constructed in the college's 59-year history and serves as its first-ever student union. With its prominent location on Elizabeth Avenue, the Parr Center is the new front door to the college's Central Campus and its signature building. Named for college benefactors Wilton L. and Mary W. Parr and their generous support of Central Piedmont over many years, the Parr Center is located on the footprint of two previous college structures the Terrell Building and the Hagemeyer Learning Resource Center. The Parr Center's positioning allowed the college to expand the size of the main quad and provides striking new architecture along Elizabeth Avenue, the main street through Central Campus. The center opened to students and the public on July 5.
"We believe this building will help students be successful," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "The services they receive here, and the space provided where they can study, collaborate, mediate and, yes, rest, will help them persist and stay on the path to completion."
The Parr Center was constructed with Mecklenburg County bonds funds. George Dunlap, chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, remarked those funds were well spent. "The Parr Center is a wonderful example of the county using its resources to help those institutions that serve this community," Dunlap said. "Working together the county and the college we have achieved this, and we all have a reason to be proud."
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said she was pleased the college designed the facility with students as the focus. "When I look at this magnificent new facility, knowing that it was conceived and built to serve students and enhance the student experience at Central Piedmont, I know it is another example of the college staying true to its mission," Lyles said.
Approximately 200 people attended the outdoor ceremony, which paid tribute to Dr. Richard Hagemeyer, Central Piedmont's first president and the namesake of the new Hagemeyer Library, located in the Parr Center. Also honored were Wilton and Mary Parr for their decades-long support of the college.
"I am proud of my association with Central Piedmont Community College. I truly enjoyed taking classes here; they were fantastic," Wilton Parr said. "It's my hope that current students and those to come all have a great experience as I did. I'm truly honored to have the Parr name on this wonderful building."
Other speakers at the ceremony included Linda Lockman-Brooks, chair of the Central Piedmont Board of Trustees; Matthew Hart, principal architect with Morris-Berg; Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodgers Builders; and Kay Mahoney, Central Piedmont Student Government Association president.
Parr Center Details:
Square Footage: 184,000
Project Cost: $113.4 million
Source of funding: Mecklenburg County bonds and other county funds
Project Managers: Rodgers and R.J. Leeper Construction
Architects: Morris Berg and Moody Nolan Architects
Parr Center Features:
- the Hagemeyer Library, a 21st-century library with an outdoor reading room, and abundant study spaces;
- a Student Union, with Welcome Center, Admissions, Students Services, Testing Center, Advising Services, Student Life, Mentoring & Bridge programs, and International programs;
- Academic Learning Center;
- a theater with seating for 450;
- the Pauline Dove Art Gallery;
- student commons with a collaborative stair;
- food services, featuring Catalyst Coffee Bar, grab-n-go items, and a dining area;
- multiple outdoor/rooftop terraces;
- six multipurpose rooms;
- collaboration/group-study rooms available for use by students, faculty, and staff; and
- enlarged outdoor quad space, designed for outdoor programming.