Wheaton College shares plans for welcome center, music building

  • Wheaton College officials are considering the addition of a new welcome center and the creation of a conservatory music building on campus.

    Wheaton College officials are considering the addition of a new welcome center and the creation of a conservatory music building on campus. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

Updated 3/12/2015 5:32 AM

A new welcome center and conservatory music building are in the works at Wheaton College, according to a school official who presented a facilities update to the city council.

Wheaton College architect Bruce Koenigsberg said the college held a meeting with neighbors last month to let them know about a number of happenings at the college, including facility plans for the next year.


"We haven't actually met with all of our neighbors at one event before," he said, adding that invites were sent to about 250 people. "It was a very good meeting, and we had a good exchange."

The meeting was scheduled on the same night as a city council meeting, so Koenigsberg offered to make a separate presentation for the council at a later date.

There are two strategic priorities in the school's fundraising campaign that would have an impact on its facilities, Koeningsburg said. That includes the conversion of the old science building near Kenilworth and Irving avenues into a building dedicated to conservatory music and a new welcome center to strengthen the admission program.

"There's some concerns about the recruiting efforts," Koeningsburg said. "We are not seeing any compromise in the enrollment or in the student quality at all, but we want to be as welcoming as we can to prospective students."

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Currently, an apartment and student house that together provide 34 beds for students are located on the land the college hopes to construct the welcome center on, off College Avenue, near the end of Chase Street.

"The welcome center needs to be intuitive to a person coming to campus for the first time," Koeningsburg said. "This location is really the only spot on the front lawn of campus that would have a building on it. It currently has that apartment and the house, but quite frankly they're eyesores."

Koeningsburg said officials are also considering building three student houses on Irving Street, with 12 beds each, to make up for the student housing lost when the apartment and house are demolished.

"Both of those projects are very early in their planning," he said of the music building and welcome center, adding that he didn't have college-approved renderings to show yet. "Our planning is heavily influenced by our fundraising and donor efforts."

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