Bibb Graves construction kicks off

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Although construction’s been underway since the end of June, Troy University officially broke ground on the renovation of its historic Bibb Graves Hall this weekend.

Prior to the kickoff of Troy University’s battle with UAB, officials met in front of the building to celebrate the first renovation Bibb Graves has undergone in more than 30 years.

As part of the project, the university will add 40,000 square feet to the building, leaving room for additional classrooms, computer labs, an auditorium that seats more than 250 and an open student lounge area. And, at the heart of the project, Bibb Graves will also include an additional wing in the back of the building that will serve as home to the school’s Center for International Business and Economic Development and the Confucius Institute. “This old building has served as the cornerstone of this university,” said Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. “Where Troy University sees what needs to be done, generally it was stepped forward.”

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Stepping forward is just what the school is now doing, in its efforts to increase economic development opportunities for Alabama. Part of the project’s funding was secured by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, in an $8 million bond. On behalf of Riley, Neal Wade with the Alabama Development Office, said Troy University’s center will not only train economic developers for Troy but for the entire state and even the world. The economic development center will train the workforce at Troy University but will also require its students to participate in a global internship.

Also within the center will be the Confucius Institute, which will provide students opportunities to student Chinese language and culture.

Representing the Confucius Institute at the groundbreaking was Guohua Yan, director and consul of education at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston, Texas.

“We’re very pleased to be able to come here to meet all of you,” Yan said. “I congratulate you, the people of Alabama, for what you have done for the university.”

The Confucius Institute at Troy is the only in the state of Alabama.

Construction will take between 18 and 24 months to reach completion.