General - Mon, Nov. 7, 2016

A major highlight of the 2016 Homecoming Celebration at Wiley College was the consecration and dedication ceremony for the Fred T. Long Student Union Building and the John D. Appleton Dining Hall on November 4.

And while there were numerous speakers at the event, the words of Student Government Association President  Cameron Smith perhaps best summed up the sentiments of many. "This is our home. The place where we dwell. Treat her like a jewel," he said, while thanking  Dr. Strickland, President and CEO of Wiley, for his persistence and perseverance in orchestrating the work of the project and guiding the project to its completion.

President Strickland's words were brief. On his mind was cutting the ceremonial  ribbon to remove the barrier between the building and the hundreds of students in attendance at the most anticipated  event on campus in recent years. "We are thankful to our students for their patience throughout this renovation project.  Please allow them to be the first to enter the building," Dr. Strickland told the crowd of alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, and well-wishers and friends of the College.  And with his snipping of the ribbon, he stepped aside, allowing students to flow through the doors to enter the student union and the dining hall to enjoy their first dining experience in the renovated facility. 

Though students now have access to a spacious dining hall and a revamped  ballroom, and can enjoy viewing the external facelift and modernization of the building's facade, they still have a brief wait before the building is fully renovated.  Renovations elsewhere  to the student union  will continue through most of the fall term, and mainly include  the work being done to the student activity rooms on the lower level, where   walls are getting a fresh repainting, and  new chairs and tables  are being added in the game room, TV room, snack area, and meeting spaces. Also new to the lower level will be  a mini-mart with snacks, sandwiches, and drinks, and an ATM machine.

The renovation of the student union is Phase Two of a $24 million construction and facilities improvement project that included the construction of  the Haywood L. Strickland Living Learning Center, a 500-bed state-of-the-art student residence hall that opened in fall 2012. Lower level improvements are being funded by the $30,000 Retool Your School Campus Pride Grant the College won from Home Depot in the spring.  Over 20 crew members from Home Depot stores in Longview, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana, as well as personnel from the company's offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and New York, were on campus in late October to assist with renovations to the lower level of the building. 

The student union is named for Coach Fred T. Long, who for many years produced championship football teams at the College. The dining hall is named in honor of  John D. Appleton, who fully outfitted the building's new kitchen  with $1 million in commercial equipment.  He is the President and CEO of ABL Educational Enterprise.

Please click here to see  more photos from the Consecration and Dedication of the Fred T. Long Student Union and John D. Appleton Dining Hlall