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Dedication of Humanities and Social Sciences Building


JONESBORO – After much anticipation, the Humanities and Social Sciences Building at Arkansas State University was dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.  The new facility is located at 2401 Aggie Road.

Watch the entire ribbon cutting ceremony > >

“The word transformative is used a lot at Arkansas State, but there is no better term for what the Humanities and Social Sciences Building does to the heart of campus,” Chancellor Tim Hudson said.  “Today we celebrate the completion of more than a decade of imagination, dedication and creative hard work by our faculty, administration and supporters.  For generations to come, Arkansas State students will walk this atrium, attend classes, consult with mentors, learn and create memories in this lovely structure that so elegantly integrates style and function and evokes a unique sense of place.”

Other speakers during the ceremony included former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe; Bryant Moy, a graduate student in the Master of Arts program in political science; and Dr. Charles L. Welch, president of the ASU System.  All members of the Board of Trustees also were present.

Former university presidents Dr. Eugene W. Smith and Dr. Les Wyatt were recognized for their contributions to the development of the university and the new building.

The project architects, AMR Architects Inc. of Little Rock and CahoonSteiling | Architecture of Jonesboro, and Tate General Contractors designed and built a four-story structure with 123,832 square feet of space with 29 state-of-the-art classrooms, two 90-seat auditoriums, six computer and multimedia labs, eight seminar rooms, faculty offices and departmental suites. The building is among the five largest instructional buildings on an Arkansas college or university campus.

“With so many of our university core courses set for the Humanities and Social Sciences, it is hard to imagine an Arkansas State student completing their degree without a number of classes in this building,” Provost Lynita Cooksey said.  “Not only is the building physically located at the middle of campus, the courses offered here are the building blocks of almost all our degree curriculums.  This is a modern, open space that will accommodate the needs of today’s A-State and for decades into the future.”

Effective July 1, Dr. Brad Rawlins, dean of the College of Media and Communication, began serving as interim dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

"This new building is truly a centerpiece for the campus, just as the humanities and social sciences are central to a college education,” Dr. Rawlins said. “Every classroom is equipped with the latest learning technology and it has been designed with safety in mind.  We consider it a building that belongs to everyone on campus and invite the community to come visit it."

Watch incoming freshmen describe their first impressions of the HSS Building.

Planning for construction to replace Wilson Hall began in 2001 and groundbreaking was in 2008. Major funding for the building came in seven distributions from the Arkansas General Assembly, General Improvement Funds, and presented by then-Gov. Mike Beebe. The total came to $24.3 million for planning, design and construction.

The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees approved a bond issue of $14.6 million in September 2013 to complete the project. Total cost of the completed project is $38.9 million.

"From the beginning, we wanted this building to be a place where students want to work, study, and socialize,” stated Dr. Deborah Chappel Traylor, associate dean.  “We want the students to see this building as theirs, and we hope it becomes a place they will remember fondly, as so many of us remember our years in Wilson Hall.    I take great pride in the fact that A-State can offer students such a beautiful and comfortable facility, with state-of-the-art technology, public art, lots of natural light, and social spaces to facilitate learning outside the classroom."

Academic departments previously located in Wilson Hall and the International Student Center, along with a graduate program from Ellis Library, have already moved into the new building. They are Criminology, Sociology and Geography; English, Philosophy and World Languages; History; Political Science; and the Heritage Studies Ph.D. Program.

A mainstay of the campus since its construction in the 1930s, Wilson served as the home for liberal arts and humanities, and the building was the center of campus activity for decades. It is currently being renovated to house the second instructional site of New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Photos from the Ribbon Cutting

View the photo gallery from the Humanities and Social Sciences Ribbon Cutting on Friday, September 18, 2015 in Jonesboro, Ark.

View the gallery >>
Dr. Tim Hudson