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Officials announce plans
for new Visitors Center
September 14, 1998

The University's changing landscape will soon have a new front door. Plans are underway for the construction of a visitors center that will be a gateway to the University. At the new center, those who visit campus will be greeted and provided with information about University activities, events and programs.

Hundreds of thousands of people come to the campus each year to tour the university, attend cultural, social and sporting events, summer programs and classes, or visit friends and relatives. The visitors center will serve as the first point of contact for them.

"The center will have a welcoming atmosphere. It will acquaint people with the academic, cultural and athletic programs that make UConn an exciting and unique institution in higher education," says Scott Brohinsky, director of university communications.

The project is being funded by alumni Philip and Christine Lodewick. Philip Lodewick earned his bachelor's degree in business in 1966 and his MBA in 1967. He is president and chief executive officer of Tradewell Corp. of Ridgefield and is chair of the University of Connecticut Foundation's board of directors. Christine Lodewick, a speech pathologist, earned her master's degree in speech pathology in 1967. She is involved in many volunteer activities. The Lodewicks also support the School of Business through a fellowship established in their name.

"We know the University is a great institution and are very anxious to promote it," says Christine Lodewick. "People need a place where they can find information about the University and also be hospitably received. It should give them a taste of what the University is like," she says.

"We want the center to be a vital part of the whole University," says Philip Lodewick. "We want it to be a place that makes people feel at home and part of a university to which they want to belong," he says.

Although the location for the center has yet to be decided, a likely choice is the corner of North Eagleville Road and Hillside Avenue. That is one of the main entryways into campus, is close to the heart of campus, and is near the parking garage, the admissions building, Alumni House, and the future home of the UConn Foundation. Officials anticipate designing a 4,500 to 5,500-square-foot facility.

"Our annual survey suggests that there are hundreds of thousands of people in Connecticut who spend time each year on our main campus," says John Barry, associate director of university communicatio ns. "We have to work harder to improve the experience these visitors have when they are with us. The creation of a center that will disseminate materials and advice to inform and guide our visitors is a great place to start."

The center will have a greeting area where visitors can ask questions and pick up brochures, maps, admissions packets and other materials. It will be a starting point for a variety of tours of campus. The facility will also have space where groups can view videos about the University and hear from faculty, staff and students. The Lodewicks envision an exhibit space where people could enjoy displays of art work or research by faculty and students and sip a cup of coffee while they relax and leaf through University materials.

The entire University will benefit from the visitors center, Brohinsky says. It will serve as an auxiliary site for a range of campus gatherings and meetings and a temporary base for parents and others while they are on campus, he says. The center will also support the University's admissions programs. The center will work with admissions staff and faculty, helping to coordinate visits and schedule interviews with faculty for students interested in applying to UConn.

Construction is expected to begin next spring and may be completed as early as September 1999.

Sherry Fisher