Student, community support bolsters Unity projects

“When you look at the geography of the campus, the University Center is right in the middle,” says senior Adam Kaefring, a business major from Solon, Iowa. “Because it is right in the middle of campus, it’s going to be easy for everyone to go to that spot. It will be the center and the focus of our community.”

Kaefring and his fellow students returned to campus for the 2010–11 academic year to an array of changes that signified the official start of Unity: The Campus Master Plan for Mount Mercy University.

Construction on University Center began in May 2010, with abatement and demolition to parts of McAuley and Regina halls, in order to relocate staff and administrative offices to allow for construction on the McAuley connector and on the first floor of the two residence halls. Kaefring and classmates returned in August 2010 to find a new entrance for Regina Hall, now located across from the Busse Center, as well as new parking areas across from the library.

Artistic renderings of the Plaza & Walk showcase the enhancements of campus green space

As part of the Campus Master Plan, the main drive has been closed to allow for continuing construction on University Center and for the initial building of the Plaza & Walk. The Campus Master Plan calls for the complete removal of the main drive in order to create a unifying campus green space. The plaza and walk will include a pedestrian plaza adjacent to University Center, walkways uniting areas of campus, new symbols of faith and inspiration, and outdoor art.

The Plaza & Walk, and the 43,500-square-foot University Center, which will provide renovated spaces and state-of-the-art technology, have received strong support from Mount Mercy’s Board of Trustees and alumni. “I believe there is a need for a central gathering place for students at Mount Mercy,” says Cammie Greif ’88, founding vice president of 2nd Story Software, Inc. and a trustee. “It’s important for students to connect with each other, and to really have a place where they can relax and let loose, and also feel like they can get some work accomplished. For those reasons I feel that it is important to have a central location, which Mount Mercy has been lacking, even when I was in school.”

Business major Kaefring recognizes that the creation of University Center, scheduled to be completed in 2011, will assist students in reaching their academic and personal potential. “The University Center will give us [students] a place to hang out and help us be more successful, socially or professionally. It will take the community aspect to the next level.”

President Christopher Blake underscores the importance of the Unity campaign, and how its projects will touch people. “Mount Mercy University is built on a tradition of courage and change, enabling generations of students to bring their faith-inspired learning into community leadership and excellence in their professions,” says Blake. “Our Campus Master Plan is about people and vision, not simply bricks and mortar.”