Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 18, 2012 – Construction activity at Embry-Riddle’s rapidly expanding Daytona Beach campus has become the norm, but the grand opening of the Jim W. Henderson Administration & Welcome Center on Oct. 26 will be special – it marks the return to campus of senior leadership displaced by a 2006 tornado that destroyed the previous administration building.
“It’s exciting to be back on campus, to actively engage with our students, faculty and staff and be energized by their enthusiasm and ideas,” said Embry-Riddle President Dr. John P. Johnson. “There’s really no substitute for daily interaction and this striking new building puts us back where we belong.”
The $13 million, 37,000-square-foot structure holds office and meeting spaces for Dr. Johnson, the Cabinet and the Board of Trustees. It is named for Embry-Riddle board chairman Jim Henderson, currently the chairman and CEO of Assured Partners Inc. in Lake Mary, Fla.
As a dual-purpose building, the sleek and swooping Henderson Center with its outdoor reflection pools and fountains is an impressive introduction to Embry-Riddle for all visitors to campus, whether prospective students and their parents, members of the local community or the nation’s leading aviation and aerospace professionals.
In the airy atrium that soars more than 50 feet high, visitors can touch three interactive kiosks to view a map of the campus and learn about Embry-Riddle degree programs, research, astronaut alumni, leadership and history, all displayed on 70-inch screens. For university and community events, a large hall and the atrium seat 350. At a later date a sculpture of a bronze eagle with a 7-foot wingspan, titled Sky King, will be installed in the atrium, a generous donation from longtime benefactor Dr. Helen Wessel.
The Henderson Center is the product of architects Gresham, Smith and Partners; general contractor Elkins Constructors Inc.; and around 40 subcontractors, mostly from Volusia County. “Over the course of construction we employed approximately 300 people,” said Chris Hardesty, Embry-Riddle’s director of planning and construction management. “We considered it a top priority to support the local economy.”
Embry-Riddle will keep the local construction industry busy for the next decade or so. Currently under construction is a $39 million College of Arts & Sciences building scheduled for completion in January 2014. The 140,000-square-foot structure will be the largest building on campus and its rooftop observatory will boast the largest university-owned telescope in Florida. Next year’s construction projects are a Student Union building; a second engineering building; an athletic complex between the baseball and softball fields; a loop road (Aerospace Boulevard); and Greek housing.
The public is invited to attend the Henderson Center grand opening and ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26; the building is located at the main entrance to campus, 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. Speaking at the event will be Dr. Johnson; Henderson; Mori Hosseini, vice chairman of Embry-Riddle’s Board of Trustees and chairman of its Facilities & Capital Planning Committee; and Glenn Ritchey, Daytona Beach mayor. Tours will follow the ceremony.
About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and www.facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.