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Change is in the air as first-time students arrive for fall semester

by Luanne Williams

The first round of more than 1,000 first-time students began unloading carts full of comforters, TVs. refrigerators and suitcases this morning as Wingate University began welcoming students for the new academic year. It’s the third year in a row that the number of first-time undergraduate students has hit four digits, and Wingate now has a total enrollment of just over 3,700, including graduate and professional students.

Classes for undergraduates and most graduate programs begin on Monday. Returning students will move in tomorrow, and the Honor Code ceremony and Convocation will both be held on Sunday.

Returning students will notice a number of changes on campus, including several completed construction projects and others still underway.

Residence halls

The largest ongoing project is a 200-bed residence hall on the northeast end of campus that will include seven classrooms, a teaching kitchen, study rooms, laundry rooms, a Provisions on Demand (POD) market and an elevator. The 53,000-square-foot facility, situated behind Helms Residence Hall off Haskins Drive, is expected to open in late September. Until then, the 200 students will be living at area hotels with free laundry service and transportation to and from campus.

Other summer construction included exterior repairs to apartments in South Village. To accommodate graduate students, Wingate renovated its off-campus housing at Hilltop, adding group kitchens, a laundry room and a gated entry.

Returning students help new students move in


Construction continues near the center of campus at the Klondike, which is being remodeled to house three much-anticipated restaurants: Chick-fil-A, Bento Asian Kitchen and Freshens Fresh Food Studio. The Klondike will also have an expanded dining area and a POD. A POD market is also being added to the second floor of the Levine College of Health Sciences.

The new restaurants are expected to open in October. Meanwhile, Aramark, Wingate’s food-service supplier, is temporarily expanding offerings at other locations. Five combos at Einstein Bros. Bagels have been added to the meal-exchange program. The Neu Building POD Express will have meal exchanges, and take-outs will be offered at the W.T. Harris Dining Hall. To accommodate large crowds, Laverne Banquet Hall will be open to W.T. Harris diners with themed menus and decor updated each week, starting with a luau the week of Aug. 19.  

W.T. Harris’ day-to-day fare will also be a bit different this semester, as each week will feature one of four restaurant concepts: Zoca (fresh Mexican fare, including burritos, tacos and bowls, and create-your-own options); Fresh Ginger (Pacific flavors, with a menu featuring the tastes of Southeast Asia); Twisted Beet (a plant-forward twist on traditional favorites); and Road Trip America (roadside-diner-style regional cuisine). As it has in the past, the dining hall will celebrate special events, such as National Bacon Lover’s Day (Aug. 20) and National Chocolate Milkshake Day (Sept. 12). On Sept. 10, seven chefs from other colleges and universities will join Aramark’s Chef Oscar to take over each station at W.T. Harris and put their personal spins on their favorite dishes.

Academic spaces

The University’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is opening its doors on the first floor of the Burnside Dalton Building, which has been remodeled and upfitted for the new program. OTD offices can also be found on the first floor of the Hayes Classroom Building.

Returning students help new students move in

Moving out of the third floor of Hayes, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is settling into its new location on the first floor of the Levine College of Health Sciences.

“The offices are great,” said Kristen Barbee, director of the BSN program. “In the new simulation lab, we will have more room than our two small labs combined.”

Launched in 2012 with 14 students, the nursing program has more than tripled in enrollment, with 66 students this year (19 seniors and 47 juniors).

Classrooms and laboratories in Hayes that have been vacated by nursing will be used for graduate education classes.

Also on the move this summer are art classes, which have been relocated to a new facility on the northeast side of campus that includes a classroom/graphics lab as well as separate studios for drawing, painting, ceramics and 2D/3D work.

Students will also notice changes in the Bridges and Smith buildings, where restrooms have been renovated.

Roads and safety

One of the most obvious changes to campus is the removal of ailing Bradford pears at Wingate’s main U.S. 74 entrance and the creation of a curb cut across Camden Road to make the Holbrook Building, which houses the Health and Counseling Center, more accessible. Additionally, the driveway to the Neu Building has been reworked and smoothed, making it easier to pull out onto Main Street.

Students may also notice more security cameras. 

“Additional cameras were added at University Place Apartments, Watson Village, Helms and at Hilltop,” said Mike Easley, chief of Campus Safety. “The surveillance of public areas is intended to deter crime and assist in protecting students and property throughout the Wingate University community.”

August 16, 2019