Fairfield Rising, the largest capital fundraising campaign in Fairfield University’s history, was so successful – surpassing its original goal of $160 million with relative ease — that it’s been extended through December 2018, with a new target of $210 million.
Lest anyone think that the fundraiser – initially connected to observing the university’s 75th anniversary this year — will simply go on into perpetuity, Vice President for Marketing and Communications Jennifer Anderson says that it really will conclude at the end of next year. “We believe that will be adequate time to raise the additional $50 million,” she said.
The university has certainly been finding uses for those funds. The first phase of an ambitious construction project included a $31 million renovation project at the university’s nursing school, the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies; a $22 million renovation of the Leslie C. Quick Jr. Recreation Complex, or “RecPlex”; and a $13 million renovation of Rafferty Stadium.
Fairfield is now well into the second phase, highlighted by the recent announcement that it is relocating its Charles F. Dolan School of Business to a new 80,500-square-foot building, scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. The $40 million facility will consist of 16 classrooms and feature a simulated financial trading room; big data analytics lab; entrepreneurship center with lab space, visualization and simulation lab; and active learning and case-based classrooms.
It will also be home to innovative spaces like a one-button studio and behavioral research lab, as well as the University’s Center for Applied Ethics. All told, it will be able to accommodate 650 students.
“This new building will exemplify what the Dolan School has become: a leading center for business education, forming students to be ethical leaders for a global future,” said university President Mark R. Nemec. “It will be the nexus for our students, faculty, and staff, allowing them to collaborate in an environment that rivals the most state-of-the-art facilities for its technology and cutting-edge spaces.”
By being adjacent to the DiMenna–Nyselius Library near the center of campus, with the nursing school and Bannow Science Center close by, the new Dolan School will help create “an academic commons,” Anderson said.
Construction is also underway on a yet-to-be named residence hall, which is on schedule to open in time for the fall 2018 semester at a cost of about $22 million. Located on the quad where the university’s four existing dorms are, the new hall will be able to accommodate 200 students, mostly sophomores.
Opening this semester at an approximate cost of $19 million will be the Tully Dining Commons, which will eschew the traditional “assembly line” of pushing through with a tray in favor of a number of stations, where students can order pizzas, tacos, stir-fry dishes and visit a salad bar, each spread around its 13,000 square feet. As with Dolan and the dorm, the dining facility will feature plenty of open spaces to afford privacy or opportunities to interact with others, as the student prefers.
Also being expanded is the Kelley Center Parking Garage, which at three stories will increase parking from 137 to 380 spaces; that project is estimated to cost $10 million.
As for the RecPlex, which opened last September, it too has a “community environment,” said Anderson, who added that about 98 percent of the student body has already utilized the facility, which offers a gamut of disciplines from cross-fit and weight training to Zumba, barre, and water aerobics.
Fairfield is also expanding various programs, adding a Doctor of Nursing Practice program in Nurse Midwifery and a master’s concentration in informatics nursing program, both of which will begin this fall.
“The university stays in tune with the marketplace,” Anderson remarked. “We follow trends and the job market, and take advantage of our alumni who are in the business world, to stay informed on what skill sets employers are looking for when they look at graduates. Many times an employer is looking for someone who can make ethical decisions, which is part of our core as a Jesuit university.”