By Will Hadden and Kirk Bado
Belmont University opened its latest building, the R. Milton and Denice Johnson Center, Saturday to a crowd of new and returning students, alumni and special guests.
R. Milton Johnson — a Belmont alumnus — and his wife recently donated $10 million to the Bridges to Belmont Program.
The ribbon was cut by the Johnsons, along with university President Dr. Robert Fisher, Board of Trustees Chairman Marty Dickens and Tonya Granberry, a longtime member of the Belmont dining services staff. The cutting took place at 1:25 p.m. to commemorate Belmont’s 125th anniversary.
CLASS Dean Bryce Sullivan, Provost Dr. Thomas Burns, Curb College Dean Doug Howard, Sodexo Regional Vice President Cal Thetford and students Kristoff Hart and Grayson Propst were also present.
In remarks made at the opening, Fisher said Belmont has gone from having a high school cafeteria to the equivalent of three fine-dining restaurants.
“This has turned into a pretty spectacular project,” Fisher said. “The second floor is all dining and it triples our space that we have available.”
This new building, which cost $87 million, will house the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, the media studies program and the new 950-person cafeteria, according to a press release issued by Belmont.
There will also be a 1,000-car garage underneath the building connected to the Baskin Center parking garage. The Johnson Center also boasts a 250-seat movie theatre, a motion capture room and a 2,500 foot sound stage for film majors, all on the first floor.
The new Belmont Vision office is also located there.
Tours were given to VIPs after the ribbon cutting. The Johnson Center will be in full operation over the next few days as the university resumes class on Aug. 26.