By Phillip Swanson
On Monday, Sept. 9, after having spent $34 million and two years in construction, the Governor’s Terrace Hall, The Terrace dining complex and the Martha Dickerson Eriksson Hall had their official grand opening in The Terrace.
A wide range of the individuals involved were in attendance at the dedication including Vice President of Student Affairs Sherryl Byrd, APSU President Tim Hall, and Vice President of Finance and Administration Mitch Robinson.
Other individuals from outside of APSU included Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, Rep. Curtis Johnson and Rep. Joe Pitts.
Sherryl Byrd, who opened the dedication, focused on the benefits of the new halls.
“These new buildings add 396 additional beds, increasing our residence capacity to over 1,700,” Byrd said.
These new halls replaced the old dorms Killebrew, Cross, and Rawlins.
“Time moves on,” Byrd said, “and so [do] the amenities that our students require in order to live on campus. They are significantly different these days than they once were.”
Mitch Robinson spoke next about when the project first began.
“We first had a vision for some of this back in 2003,” Robinson said. “That’s when we put together a housing master-plan for this campus. This is actually the first time we’ve increased our beds on campus and with the way we’ve been growing lately, I definitely think we need to have that.”
Between 2000 and 2006, APSU’s enrollment increased 30 percent, making it one of Tennessee’s fastest-growing universities. In 2009, APSU exceeded the 10,000 students mark for the first time in the university’s history.
President Tim Hall spoke about the students that would be housed in the new residences and the namesake of one of the buildings.
“Over the last few years we have grown, not only in the enrollment of our students and the number of faculty,” Hall said, “but we’ve grown in number of facilities and we’re not through growing because we are trying to provide a home for all the many students that are making this a great place.”
Hall spoke about how the new dorm, Martha Dickerson Eriksson Hall, and how it got its name.
“You’ve noticed that most of the buildings around campus have the names of governor’s and former presidents. Today we are joining the name of a prominent alum to this university. Now we attach her name to this facility,” said Hall.
Hall recognized Lars Eriksson’s initial donation in the spring of 2013 which funds scholarships to students that wish to teach in the area of math and science. Hall thanked him for his donation and said that APSU is proud to be able to honor his wife, Martha.
For students the new residence halls mean bringing the campus closer together.
“It will allow more students [to] be able to live on campus and give much needed space for students to come together,” Alicia De Jesus, a junior in communications, said.
“Having lived in one of the older dorms,” said Amber Law, a senior in education, “it is nice to see APSU renovating and taking the time to update the dormitories to meet the needs of students. I am sure this will help APSU for a long time.”