New facility and Byrnes renovation on the way

Mahony announces upcoming projects for the “treasure” of Winthrop and a new facility 

University president Dan Mahony announced two upcoming changes at his State of the University Address on Oct. 5 — the renovation of Byrnes Auditorium and the addition of a new facility for exercise science majors.

“We have a number of projects coming up that will still make our long-term goals realistic,” Mahony said in his University Address.

Renovation of Byrnes Auditorium

Winthrop received $4.5 million from the state to renovate Byrnes Auditorium, being the largest single project for Winthrop.

“It needs a lot of upgrading. It can be beautiful, but there’s issues with the roof and other complications that need to be addressed,” Mahony said.

Winthrop goes through a process every year with the state to request funding for facilities and renovation. For Byrnes’ renovation they received confirmation in the fall of 2015 notification of funds in June 2016.

This is the same process that funded the renovation of the Withers Building’s roof last academic year, which cost $2 million.

enovation, currently in the design phase. Bidding will begin in the spring, and they plan for construction to begin in June 2018 after the academic year ends. Mahony stresses that the construction dates can vary.

“I can’t swear that it will be in July or May. There are always changing schedules, but June 2018 is the goal for right now,” Mahony said.

Byrnes is a popular location for larger events on campus such as the Homecoming Talent Show, the 2015 Democratic Forum and the annual State of the University Address.

“People are going to have to move their events to other places during the year, which is always a struggle,” Mahony said. “We have the advantage of having a lot of different spaces on campus to use. The upside is at the end of the year, you will have a much nicer facility.”

New facility for exercise science majors 

A new facility for exercise science majors is under the approval process, according to Mahony.

During the bidding process, a team including exercise science department chair Kristi Schoepfer decided to locate the facility in the Knowledge Park area of downtown Rock Hill.

“It’s also an opportunity for community outreach given its location,” Mahony said.

Mahony also said the space will serve as a single computer lab classroom and will come with the equipment necessary for exercise science majors. “It’s not designed to be an extra computer lab, just a large exercise science space,” he said. Lab space for exercise science majors is currently lacking due to the rapid growth of the department.

There are 232 exercise science majors as of this semester, according to the Winthrop facts and information page on the university’s website. The department’s undergraduate enrollment increased by 8.9 percent over the last four years.

For faculty, there will be different arrangements in the new facility. “There will be a shared space rather than individual offices, but there is still some discussion about what the space will actually be used for,” Mahony said. The West Center will continue to be the location of faculty’s offices.

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