Offices, student resource centers find new homes

Rendering of the new Toppel Center.
Rendering of the new Toppel Center.

The Writing Center migrated from its former location near the Pavia Garage at the start of this semester in order to make room for a new Toppel Career Center, set to open during spring 2014.

In the meantime, the former location of the Writing Center is undergoing major renovations, thanks to a $3 million donation from Patricia Toppel and the Parents Council.

The new center will be twice the size of the current one – from 6,000 square feet, as it is presently – to nearly 12,204 square feet.  The expanded center will be comprised of two main buildings, which will be referred to as the East and West Wings. A grand lobby and an outdoor Career Pavilion will adjoin the two buildings.

The East Wing will serve as the technology and recruiting area of the center. It will also house on-campus interviews and serve as a training ground for students preparing to enter the workforce or start their own businesses.

The West Wing will house the staff and will advise students who come visit the center. Toppel’s planning and operations will take place on the first floor. The second floor will include a Multipurpose Room, which will overlook the Career Pavilion.

The original Toppel Career Center, located at the UC, opened its doors in 1995, due to Toppel and her late husband Harold Toppel’s financial support. Before it was Toppel, the site served as the campus’ bowling alley. Eventually the site will house the Office of Admissions.

According to Christian Garcia, the executive director of the Toppel Career Center, the initial plan to move to a new location was set into motion after a decision to move the Office of Admissions was put into action.

“The original plan was to move admissions here, then they had to decide where to put us,” Garcia said. “The new center will allow for our growing staff. It’ll have interview suites and a multipurpose room. It will be very versatile.”

Though the renovated Toppel Career Center will open to the public next spring, the Office of Admissions has not received a move date just yet.

“Although it will be difficult to leave our longtime home in the Ashe Building, the admission staff is looking forward to being in the University Center,” Dean of Enrollment Management Edward M. Gillis said. “This will be a much more convenient location for prospective students and their parents.”

The Writing Center, located where the renovated Toppel Career Center is set to open, is now housed at 170 LaGorce House, on Dickinson Drive, near the Wellness Center and School of Architecture.

According to the Writing Center Director April Mann, the Writing Center’s new location is temporary.

“The new location is smaller, but it works fine,” she said. “We are further away now, but near the freshmen dorms.”

Additionally, the Writing Center still has the ability to tutor the same amount of students. The English Composition Center is housed next to the new Writing Center, too.

“We have much as tutoring space as before,” Mann said. “Even though it’s a smaller location, it does not feel too cramped.”

Mann hopes to work closely with Richter Library to eventually create a communication center, which would help develop both writing and technology skills.

“If we could work together, they could help students with the technological aspects and we could help students with the writing, communicating and editing,” Mann said. “Right now it’s just an idea.”