March 27, 2003
CUA Dedicates New Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center April 10
$27 Million Facility to Serve as Campus Gathering Place and Conference Site
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Catholic University of America dedicated its newly completed Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center on Thursday, April 10, amid a week of celebratory events for students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, local leaders and others.
“It is incredibly exciting to see how the Pryzbyla Center is having such a profound impact on our campus life,” says the Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., university president. “It fills a great need for a central gathering place — a collective living room, dining room and family room all rolled into one — in the CUA home.”
“The Pryz,” as the center is informally called, stands as a lasting reminder of the late Edward J. Pryzbyla (B.A. 1925), whose gift — combined with a District of Columbia bond initiative — made construction of the center possible. The Chicopee, Mass., native, who passed away seven months after the Pryzbyla Center’s official groundbreaking in 2000, was CUA’s most generous benefactor and a longstanding supporter of the university.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 10 at 4 p.m., highlighting a celebration week that includes a production of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, student concerts and comedy shows, coffee hours, academic lectures and the grand opening of the two-floor CUA Bookstore, operated by Follett. For a complete list of events, visit http://pryzbyla.cua.edu/schedule.cfm.
Though the primary purpose of the $27 million building is to serve as the university community’s central gathering place, the 104,000-square-foot facility also has ample room for conferences and already has been booked for a major academic summit in June.
The World Archeological Congress will hold its annual conference at the Pryzbyla Center from June 21 to 26, 2003, the first time the congress has met in the United States. About 500 people are expected to attend. Forty other groups are slated to visit the university this summer. About half of those will hold events at the center, and all will use its dining facilities.
“With its exposed structure, light-filled atrium and spacious interior, the new Pryzbyla Center is an exciting and major architectural addition to the university,” says Gregory K. Hunt, dean of CUA’s School of Architecture and Planning.
Designed by the architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and built by the Clark Construction Group, the Pryzbyla Center boasts nine meeting rooms and a Great Room capable of seating 450 people for meals and 800 for lectures; window-enclosed lounges with beautiful views of the campus; a convenience store; office and storage space for 31 student organizations; computer and audio-visual technology, including wireless Internet capabilities throughout; and consolidated campus dining. Dining facilities previously located in three campus buildings have been replaced by the center’s dining hall for residential students and a food court. The food court’s seating area includes a raised stage platform for use during daytime and evening performances.
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