"The large front room will be set up like a living room," Sheeran says. "This will be a place for alumni to sit and relax." The "living room" is a lounge area outfitted with comfortable couches, chairs, computers, phone access and a large-screen plasma television. In a connected room, a large conference table seats 20, perfect for alumni meetings, seminars, workshops and visits.
The space is also housing photographs of Xavier's campus throughout the years so alumni can reminisce and still feel connected to the University.
The University remodeled the space to create a welcome center and central hub for visiting alumni and dignitaries. The glass-enclosed welcome area has seen a variety of uses since the University took over the historic, 70-year-old building—formerly a Coca Cola bottling plant—in January 2002. The spaces were initially used for storage and temporary office space for employees within the University’s division of university relations while renovations occurred in other portions of the building. The spaces were then used as temporary classrooms for students from Cincinnati’s Summit Country Day School, which moved its high school operations to Xavier after a portion of its school building collapsed as a result of a construction accident.
Until recently, a gathering place for Xavier alumni was purely an idea and a hope, says Joe Ventura, executive director for the national alumni association.
“This has been in talks for many years and now, finally, it's like a dream come true,” says Ventura. “Alumni have a place to go to feel like they’re home.”