Longwood University in Farmville, Va., has been given the largest gift in the institution’s history—a $15 million contribution from philanthropist and alumna Joan Brock that will go toward the construction of a new convocation and events center.
The university says it expects the Joan Perry Brock Center, now is in its early design stages, to be completed in 2022. Preliminary estimates of the total cost of the building range between $35 and $40 million.
The facility will provide a gathering space for campus events and ceremonial traditions such as convocation, as well as serving as a much-needed location where the student body can assemble. And it will serve as an attraction for speakers, musicians and other performers.
Brock says she wants to continue repaying a debt to Longwood for its formative impact on her own life, and for introducing her to those who remain her closest friends.
“I’m pleased that it’s going to be a focal point for the whole community to interact, not just Longwood,” says Brock. “It will be a rallying place. Those shared experiences are very important, locking arms with your neighbors, going forward together with a common goal. I’m delighted just thinking about the opportunities on campus that students will be able to walk to."
As a home for Longwood’s men’s and women’s Division I basketball programs, the new center is expected to seat between 2,500 and 3,000. It will provide a significant upgrade from the existing’ current space in Willett Hall.
“This building will be truly at the very heart of our campus, and will have real character and a soul, inside and out,” says Courtney Hodges, vice president for institutional advancement.
The new building will be erected on the site of Longwood’s tennis courts, which will be relocated this summer.
Construction and additional financing will be overseen through the Longwood University Real Estate Foundation. The university is committed to complementing the traditional architectural style of central campus, but otherwise the planning and design process remains in its earliest stages.