Montevallo on Main to bring thousands of UM students downtown
By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – About 4,000 University of Montevallo students are expected to make trips to downtown Montevallo weekly with the opening of the new Montevallo on Main building that will hold several classrooms, office spaces and lounge areas when it opens this fall.
The building itself was formerly leased by Alabama Power and has been undergoing renovations since summer 2012. It is scheduled to open Friday, Aug. 23 during a ribbon-cutting and open house ceremony beginning at 10 a.m.
UM President John Stewart, County Manager Alex Dudchock and Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost are all scheduled to speak at the event, each representing a different entity responsible for the completion of the project.
Dee Woodham, chair of the Montevallo Cooperative District and Montevallo City Council member, said the city, county and university went in together to purchase the building, while the university and county split renovation costs. The city’s contributions were made possible by the 1 cent tax increase, 90 percent of which goes to the MDCD to fund capital improvement projects.
Dudchock said renovations totaled about $1.6 million, and the partnership is fueled in part by the county and university’s joint goal of increasing undergraduate enrollment at UM by 500 students.
“The county is in this because the university is one of our economic catalysts,” said Dudchock, who noted the university is one of the county’s biggest employers with more than 500 full-time employees and more than 150 seasonal student workers. “We keep implementing improvements so that we meet our goal of 500 more students.”
Cost said she is interested in increasing the number of students downtown.
“We want more students downtown so they can support our businesses,” she said. “We really appreciate the university for taking a big leap forward and collaborating to make it happen.”
Both Cost and Stewart also recognized the importance of uniting the university and the city. When Stewart came to Montevallo in 2010, he said he realized “the downtown part of the city and the university’s state were inextricably tied.”
“To be everything the university can be – to reach our greatest potential – (my administration realized) we needed to be a huge part of downtown revitalization,” Stewart said. “We’ve always been a university and a city, and now we want to make it a college town.”
Montevallo on Main is scheduled to hold 55 classes this fall as well as most office spaces for the department of behavioral and social sciences.