George Wythe College making presence felt
Feb 27, 2008 | 541 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
by Buckley Jensen

A team of five George Wythe College students spent a day at the Monticello Elementary School tutoring students last Thursday. The students love having “big kids” mentor them.

Teachers report the only problem was that all the kids wanted to spend time with their drop-in teachers at the same time.

One of the core beliefs of the George Wythe philosophy is “giving back” in any way possible. When the new college is built and operating on their 500-acre campus west of Monticello, the contributions these values will make to the city and county can hardly be imagined.

A visit with Dr. Shanon Brooks, a team of architects, and donors Thursday morning revealed a beehive of activity at their headquarters in Monticello in what used to be the Hyland Hotel. School officials have invited interested educators, donors, and community members to come in and make suggestions. “How often do we get the chance to build a university from the ground up.” Dr. Brooks mused. “We want to consider every good idea anyone has.”

They are presently immersed with a team of professionals in what they call a “charrette”, an intense design studio where members of the design team are brought to a single site for a week of intense activity. They bring all their equipment with them, and create a working office. More can be accomplished in that mode, despite the costs of travel and maintenance, than trying to do it from distances.

Among those attending the charrette was Marie Andree Soundy from Panama City, Panama. She and her husband own an architectural firm in Panama City. Panamanians don’t see much snow in their part of the world, so this week has been a treat. Soundy and her husband both hold advanced degrees from Notre Dame, and are excited to be part of the George Wythe planning and design.

Because the motif of the George Wythe Campus will be a blending of Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England and the University of Virginia, school officials have retained the services of Brad Houston, an architect in Salt Lake City who graduated from Cambridge University. He is not as enamored of the snow as Mrs. Soundy, but is excited about the project. Several other professional designers and architects are involved.

According to Dr. Brooks, the final drawings and elevations should be ready within a few weeks. Plans call for construction of the first of 10 colleges in 2010, with student instruction to begin full time on-site in 2012. The first class in Monticello is presently being taught by Dr. Brooks on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 a.m. Nineteen local people are enrolled in the three hour college credit class.

Another exciting feature of the campus is a 600 lot “village” which will provide housing opportunities not only for faculty, staff and students, but for hundreds of people who love the university atmosphere and would like to live or retire there.

Brooks said the master plan will attempt to make the residential “village” compatible with the overall master plan. The village will be designed so residents will be able to walk or ride bikes easily throughout the complex.

George Wythe College is open between 9 am and 6 pm Monday thru Friday.
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