During a dedication ceremony February 7, Converse College unveiled its renovated Montgomery Student Center to the public. Located in the heart of the Converse campus, the facility has undergone an 18-month $6.5 million transformation to become the hub for student life and activities.
McMillan Smith and Partners, lead architects on the project, designed the two-story building to harmonize the historic context of the campus with a contemporary chic interior. The facility houses the Daniels Center for Leadership and Service, Sneakers (a cyber café) and Loafers (a game room) that serve as the college’s first wireless hotspot and feature plasma screen televisions, office space for student government organizations, a fitness center, the offices of Campus Life and Career Services, an upgraded bookstore, computer stations, the Gibbs Chapel, the campus post office, a seminar room, a conference room, a day student lounge and a multipurpose room. In keeping with Converse’s recent designation as the first women’s college in the nation to be named a Steinway School, a Steinway Baby Grand Piano is positioned in the Center’s lobby.
The open floor plan serves the constant level of activity in the Center. Numerous alcoves just off main hallways provide space for casual meetings, studying sessions or relaxation. A retro yet contemporary style has been achieved with a color scheme of lime green, coral, brown and turquoise, and suspended drop ceilings that reveal mechanical supports. A system of undulating contours in the ceiling and floors define the student art gallery. An inviting fireplace with casual seating is the centerpiece of the lobby, which includes an events and information desk with a plasma screen that continuously provides campus information.
“The beautifully renovated Montgomery Student Center is the site for shaping the culture of community at Converse,” said Converse president Betsy Fleming. “It is a comfortable and engaging space where students can meet, eat, relax, and discuss local and global issues. It is a space for such events as band parties and coffeehouse-style poetry jams. It is where we will celebrate longstanding Converse traditions and initiate new ones.”