University of Montevallo reveals progress on downtown building

Published 4:41 pm Monday, May 20, 2013

By MEGAN SMITH/For the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo’s behavioral and social science program will move to the new University of Montevallo on Main building in time for the fall semester, UM officials announced during a May 16 Business After Hours event.

UM officials gave a status update about the project during the event, which was held at Anna Irvin Dining Hall and attended by members of local Chambers of Commerce.

The University of Montevallo on Main building will be located in the old Alabama Power business office on Main Street. The building is the university’s first venture into the community and will hold at least 15 faculty offices as well as classes.

Buying and renovating the building, which is located about two blocks from campus, was a joint effort by the university, city of Montevallo and Shelby County.

“The students will be happy for the move,” said Gary Johnson, comprehensive campaign director at the university. “They won’t mind the walk.”

“This will get students into the heart of town,” said Suzanne Ozment, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “At some point every student will have at least one course there.”

The event also showcased other projects, such as renovations to the Anna Irvin Dining Hall. Chartwells dining services has signed to upgrade campus dining by bringing an Outtakes convenience store, Starbucks, Au Bon Pain and more food vendors to the space.

Barnes and Noble will be relocated to Main Street, and UM will find a new tenant for the bookstore’s current space on campus.

“We’re bringing the campus to the community,” Johnson said.

The partnership between the school, city and county owns a third building, as well. Brenda Knight, university foundation director, said the plan is to lease the space to a restaurant that will attract students and community members.

“This shows how important it is [for the university] to connect physically with the community, not just the town, but the much larger community,” Ozment said.