After being confined to the Moore Building for 60 years, students, faculty and staff can now enjoy the addition of the Nell A. and W. Oliver Harrison Building to Brite Divinity School. The addition leaves the school with two buildings: the Harrison Building and Moore Hall.
Newell Williams, president of Brite Divinity School, said the new building had classrooms, offices, a conference center, the Walker Preaching Center and many breakout rooms. Between the Harrison Building and the renovations at Moore Hall, Brite has 20 more teaching spaces.
Keri Day, assistant professor of Theological and Social Ethics and Black Church Studies, said the building would encourage new students to come to Brite. The new classrooms were more aesthetic, and the technology would create bigger, more interactive classes.
But Williams said the administration does not plan to add new faculty or classes in the near future.
Sarah Almanza, a graduate student working toward her master’s degree in divinity, was excited about the new building and the changes in classes.
“It’ll change classes quite a bit by having more facility space and more technology,” she said.
Day said the breakout rooms would strengthen community and bonding with students, faculty and staff being able to use the rooms to gather, relax or talk.
Williams said the breakout rooms would help during large classes because groups can split up and use the rooms instead of staying in the main classroom.
He also said the conference room would be available to not only Brite students, but anyone at the university who may need to use it. For example, he said people who use the Robert Carr Chapel for a wedding or a memorial service in the future could then go to the conference center for a reception.
Day discussed the importance of the Walker Preaching Center to the new building.
“We have some of the best preaching facilities in this area, and I would certainly want to put what we have up against other national seminaries,” she said.
Williams said the 25,000 square-foot building was under construction over a one-year period from December 2010 to December 2011 and was finished a month in advance.
The building is not Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified due to costs of certification, but Williams said the building was probably LEED eligible. He said Brite wanted a “building that would be LEED certifiable if we seek certification, but we decided to dispense with the recognition.”
The new Harrison Building will offer:
Walker Preaching Center
20 teaching spaces
1 conference center
8 faculty offices
5 student service offices
3 seminar rooms
3 student breakout rooms
1 staff breakout room