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CAS, religion school will move to planned building

Most of the departments in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the School of Religion tentatively will move to a new building at 15th and Wedgewood avenues that is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014.

Construction on the new building, which will also include a 430-car parking garage, a dining facility and a 250-seat chapel, will begin in May, according to a campus-wide email sent by Provost Thomas Burns Tuesday morning.

Dr. Bryce Sullivan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said no decision has been made concerning which CAS schools and departments will occupy the new building.

Further discussions about the building will be held in the coming months, Burns said. These include focus groups this week with staff, student leadership, and CAS and School of Religion faculty.

In the email, Burns attributed many of the ideas for the building to a collaboration of ideas among faculty, staff, and the Student Government Association last semester.

“The many conversations, as well as the thoughtful and creative proposals that have been shared, have contributed to creating a design and framework for this new structure that will serve to make it a central part of the Belmont community,” he said.

Additional elements to area construction were also announced in the email.

A traffic light to be installed on the corner of 15th and Wedgewood avenues this summer, and roundabouts are expected to be built on 15th and Acklen avenues and between the parking garages under McWhorter, Inman, the Baskin Center and the new building to try to improve traffic flow.

The building which will be approximately 160,000 square feet, is also expected to connect with Inman and McWhorter via a pedestrian bridge.

According to the email, initial renderings of the building will include a tower like the one Freeman Hall had in the 1900s. In photos of the building from the 1890s, the building had a dome-like structure in its northeast corner.

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