June 25, 2008
VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s newest residence hall was formally dedicated Tuesday, as President Ronald M. Zaccari was joined in a ribbon cutting ceremony by representatives from the University System of Georgia, state legislators, university officials, students and members of the community.
The new four-story facility holds quite a presence on campus, standing four stories high in the center of a courtyard, framed by two towers. And completed in the same Spanish Mission theme of the campus, with lighted outdoor seating and landscaping, Hopper Hall is sure to be a meeting place of students and university visitors alike.
Inside the 157,354-square-foot building, which sits on just under 2.5 acres, the facility offers a number of modern amenities designed to fit the contemporary student.
“The new facility bears little resemblance to the previous structure and boasts 513 beds in suite- style rooms that offers today’s contemporary students a leading-edge living and learning environment,” said President Ronald Zaccari.
In addition to its suite-style rooms, the facility also offers an 188-seat Euro-style show kitchen, campus mailroom, office space, as well as classroom stations and other facilities.
“The student really does not have to leave this facility to get his/her education,” said Rob Kellner, director of Auxiliary Services.
The project is funded through a public venture within VSU’s Auxiliary Services Real Estate Foundation, Inc. Construction of the $21.9 million building was performed by Juneau Construction under the direction of RISE beginning fall 2007.
Springing up during a season of renewal and growth, lead by Zaccari over the past six years, Hopper Hall is only one of many capital projects which mark a milestone along the path toward reaching the university vision.
“The Hopper Hall replacement is the first of eight projects scheduled to be completed within the next two years, representing an excess of $150 million in capital construction,” said Kellner.
In 2002, VSU’s master plan strategically identified the need to increase on-campus housing to accommodate an expected enrollment of 16,000 by 2020. Since then, Zaccari, who will retire at the end of this month, has been working to prepare the university for that day.
In honor of Zaccari’s efforts during his tenure to see the invisible, and partnering efforts to bring those visions to pass, Juneau Construction and RISE honored the leader through an appreciation endowment, by establishing the Ronald M. Zaccari Presidential Lecture Series.
“Our gift is primarily to honor the legacy of Dr. Zaccari and his great vision and thank him for the professional courtesy we have been extended during our time on campus,” said Les Juneau, President of Juneau Construction.
The goal is grow the endowment to a minimum of $250,000, which will allow interest earned annually to support expenses associated with hosting guest speakers. Currently the endowment contains more than $125,000 in gifts and pledges, including many individual contributions.
Although Tuesday’s ceremony was Zaccari’s last while serving as president of the university, he looks forward to continuing his relationship with the college through the lecture series and other university events.
“I am honored that the Presidential Lecture Series will continue to grow and provide a venue for scholars, artists and scientists to engage in the teaching and learning process at Valdosta State University,” Zaccari said.
“And I look forward to attending all the lectures in this series.”