The University of Mary Washington celebrated the start of construction for the William M. Anderson Center at a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, September 17.
The two-story center is designed to provide seating for more than 3,000 people for convocation events and approximately 2,000 spectators for athletic events. Currently, the university’s Dodd Auditorium seats 1,300 and Woodard Campus Center holds a maximum of 500 people standing.
The facility will accommodate larger audiences for university events and will provide an inclement weather location for the many outdoor programs planned throughout the academic year.
UMW Rector Nanalou Sauder recognized President Emeritus William M. Anderson Jr., for whom the center is named. Dr. Anderson dedicated 23 years to building a nationally prominent university, including an intercollegiate varsity program recognized for its scholarship as well as the athletic prowess of its students.
Athletic Director Ed Hegmann said that the center’s larger seating capabilities will allow Mary Washington to host the regional NCAA III basketball championships that are not possible at Goolrick Hall’s gymnasium, which was built in 1969 for an all-girls’ school. Besides basketball, the center also will be used for volleyball competitions and for physical education classes.
The center will feature the classic red brick and white columns seen throughout Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg campus. The 52,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in mid-winter 2011.