The University of the Incarnate Word’s mission emphasizes development of the whole student, promoting a community of enlightened citizens. To fulfill its mission effectively, UIW is rebuilding and expanding the Student Center, at the heart of the campus. The existing building of 48,000 square feet will be replaced with one that is triple the current size, with new but “timeless” architectural features to create an inviting space with abundant natural light.
UIW has over 90 student organizations, all of whom meet regularly and participate in community service projects. More groups are forming each year. This growth in student organizations reflects the overall enrollment growth of the university. In Fall 2015, UIW enrolled over 10,800 students, making UIW the third-largest private university in Texas.
The Marian Hall Student Center, at the hub of UIW’s campus, is the university’s main gathering place where student organizations meet and a popular spot for events such as comedy night or a rally against underage drinking. Because of UIW’s enrollment growth, student organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to access the Student Center. Originally built in 1960 when enrollment averaged 1,500 students, the Marian Hall Student Center has become inadequate in serving UIW’s co-curricular needs in the 21st century.
The new Student Engagement Center (SEC) will be both a student union, where co-curricular activities are concentrated, and a services center, where representatives from UIW’s business and campus life offices will provide a “one-stop shop” for students’ needs. The SEC will enhance the students’ experience for recruitment, development and success through graduation by providing quality facilities for collaborative programs and services. These areas will be expanded:
Student services offices have also been carefully and purposely designed to meet not only the needs of our student body, but also to expand existing services. For example, the Veterans Affairs office has been designed to include a veterans’ lounge, a safe space for veterans and family members to visit and support one another. The Health Services office has expanded to include three examination rooms, a pharmacy, a dental exam room, and a room to accommodate health training and education programs.
Cost for constructing the new Student Engagement Center is $34.5 million. Multiple naming opportunities are available in this new facility – the heart and soul of student engagement at the center of the UIW campus.