Welcome Center opens after numerous setbacks

The Fuquay Welcome Center officially opened Nov. 1 following over two years of construction.

Ground broke on the Welcome Center in September of 2016, located between the University Center East and the Orr Center, but construction did not start until nearly a year later.

Riley Guerzini
USI President Ron Rochon (middle) along with Dan and Janet Fuquay (left) and other members of the USI community unveil the Welcome Center welcome mat at the opening ceremony Nov. 1.

Construction faced numerous setbacks after the university could not agree on a price with contractors.

A bid was finally accepted in the summer of 2017, going $700,000 over budget.

“As much as anything, I’m happy to be able to deliver a project that has been long awaited for this campus,” Vice President for Finance and Administration Steve Bridges told The Shield in August of last year.

The Fuquay Welcome Center is named after Dan and Janet Fuquay, who donated $2 million to the construction of the facility. Old National Bank also donated $500,000 with the rest of the money coming from a special projects fund that is used to do improvement on campus.

“This is an exciting day for the university and especially for the student ambassador organization,” senior Communication Studies major Riley Cornett said at the opening. “The campus visit is critical for the recruitment of new students.”

The facility features a green roof where students can sit and view the greenery. It also houses the admissions office and space for student orientations.

“Students expect more than a tour, they expect an experience,” Cornett, who is a new member mentor for the student ambassador program said.

USI’s student ambassador program will also maintain space in the Welcome Center. The program consists of 70 volunteer students.  

Cornett said ambassadors committed over 2,000 volunteer hours last academic year.

“The Fuquay Welcome Center will not only revamp the visiting experience but will leave a lasting impression on all who spend a day with us,” Senior finance major Matthew Krutzer said.

Riley Guerzini
USI President Ron Rochon speaks to an audience at the opening ceremony of the Welcome Center Nov. 1.

Krutzer, who is the President of the student ambassador program, said the ambassadors have already begun operating out the Welcome Center and is excited for the opportunities it can possibly provide.

“We are here to serve you,” President Ron Rochon said to students at the opening. “We are here to partner with you and see you become successful. All of my colleagues in this room are ready to pass the baton to you to provide leadership to this community, to our nation and to our globe.”