NEWBERRY — Dr. Melissa Awenowicz said she had feelings of joy and blessings as she helped kick off the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Center for Teacher Education.
“This is not simply a building that houses our classes and students, but it truly is a center that reflects our passion for creating future teachers, promotes out commitment to the personal attention of each of our students and it renews our spirit of community,” Awenowicz, chair of the Newberry College Education Department, said Friday.
During the ceremony, Newberry College seniors Ashley Minor, a Physical Education major, and Jaima Edwards, a Secondary Education major, shared their thoughts on the new Center for Teacher Education.
“We have already attended several classes in this building and the environment is incredible. Knowing that there is a place where education majors can call home is so exciting,” Minor said.
Edwards expressed similar sentiments complimenting the Center for Teacher Education’s new courtyard, which allows students to gather and gain inspiration.
“To the college, thank you for allowing us this tremendous opportunity to grow and to learn. Today we commemorate the start of a new chapter for the Newberry College Teacher Education Program, and we hope you will fall in love with the center just as much as we have,” Edwards said.
Newberry College President Maurice Scherrens and Mayor Foster Senn were also present to help officially unveil the Center for Teacher Education.
“This is a celebration of the past and present. This building was going downhill, but Newberry College stepped up and fixed this building up beautifully. We are so proud to be the home for the Center for Teacher Education,” Senn said.
“We didn’t have enough space or the right space for an education department. The program has outgrown the space. It was needed so that we could blend the city and Newberry College. It also has a chance to help revitalize the city. I hope that we can do something with the fields, whether it’s basketball courts or intramural fields,” Scherrens said.
The Center for Teacher Education used to be the home of Speers Street Elementary, but was abandoned around 2006. Newberry College came up with the plan to purchase the building in 2010-2011.
“The building was in a lot of disrepair. Every window was damaged. There were a lot of issues with the buildings ceilings and walls,” said Scott Joyner, vice president of Institutional Advancement for Newberry College. “It’s tough for a business to come in and take over a building like this, because it was not built for anything other than to be an education center. So, we’re fortunate that Newberry College was able to purchase it and to able to expand our campus.”
Joyner also hopes that the room that held the old cafeteria would be used to hold conferences, bring in teachers or administrators or hold other education events.
Future projects for Newberry College include renovation on the current science and math building, a new nursing building, plans to build a new residence hall behind the football stadium beside Walker Hall and a new football stadium that will possibly break ground after the 2016 football season is completed.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.