Taylor University Announces Plans for Campus Center

Published: Oct 23, 2013

Taylor University officials have announced plans to build a $20 million, 55,000 square foot campus center that will more than triple Taylor’s current student union, create overflow seating for Taylor chapel services, centralize student development offices, and serve as home to a campus bookstore, grille and coffee shop.

The facility will be named the LaRita R. Boren Campus Center to honor the memory of longtime Taylor trustee, honorary alumna and friend, LaRita Boren. Boren served as a member of Taylor’s Board of Trustees from 1977 to 2010. Additionally, she was executive vice president of Avis Industrial Corporation and was a board member of numerous civic organizations.

Boren, who with her husband Leland had three children and six grandchildren, died after a brief illness in 2011.

The new Campus Center will be wrapped around Taylor’s Rediger Chapel/Auditorium. The first floor of the new building will contain 400 seats in a common gathering and dining area, a food service area, the Jumping Bean coffee shop, Taylor’s campus store, a small auditorium seating 255, the Calling and Career Office, and the Office of Intercultural Programs. The second floor will house student leadership, local and international student ministries, the Spencer Centre for Global Engagement, counseling, and other programs associated with the Center for Student Development.

The new facility will replace the current Taylor student union. Known as “The Dome,” the existing union was built in the 1950s when enrollment was about 600, less than one third of Taylor’s current enrollment, and originally served as Taylor’s dining hall.  

Campus officials say the construction project will also update and refresh the current chapel's interior, while preserving the building's intimacy. The chapel has not been changed since its initial 1975 renovation from Maytag Gymnasium.

Taylor president Dr. Eugene B. Habecker said the new facility will significantly enhance the experiences and programs related to discipleship, chapel, collaboration, servant leadership, intercultural effectiveness, calling and career, emotional and physical well-being, and alumni and parents. New space for almost 1,200 is provided through a variety of seating and interaction areas. Additionally, the “informal spaces” will accommodate 400 people, whether they are going to or from chapel, standing in a line at the food service area, attending a concert in the common space, or participating in a reception at Homecoming.

“The campaign to build the new LaRita R. Boren Campus Center is the result of years of intensive planning by the Taylor University community and responds to a number of critical needs,” said Habecker. “First, it recognizes our essential educational philosophy that is committed to the education of the whole person in the context of our intentional community. The LaRita R. Boren Campus Center is a testimonial to the reality that education takes place both within and without the classroom and provides enhanced opportunities for that to occur.

“Second, the new building will serve as a centralized nerve center where many of our student development professionals can continue work that is so vital to our student life,” Habecker continued. “Third, and very importantly, this new Center will serve as a lasting tribute to the love and grace of a most beloved member of our Taylor community, LaRita R. Boren.”

“The new LaRita R. Boren Campus Center will allow us to unite a number of our offices and services under one roof. Additionally, it will open new programming possibilities for our students that will further enrich the incarnational student living model that makes Taylor University such a great place,” said Taylor Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Skip Trudeau. “We eagerly anticipate the construction and occupation of this outstanding facility.”