University unveils vision for its new Black Cultural Center

First published in Around the O on May 15, 2018, The University of Oregon’s Black Cultural Center is rapidly taking shape as designs are being shared and a groundbreaking date is being identified.

The $2.2 million center, slated to open in fall 2019, has been embraced by donors, who have provided approximately $1.7 million in gifts, including a $1 million gift from Nancy and Dave Petrone.

“There is clearly widespread support for this project and a strong understanding of the value that providing such a space can have in helping our students be successful,” said Kevin Marbury, the UO’s vice president for student life. “Black students on campus have a strong desire for a place that helps them feel connected and supported by the university. We are  excited to see it coming to fruition.”

Plans for the Black Cultural Center were shared with the Campus Planning Committee during a forum May 15. It is being designed by Architecture Building Culture in collaboration with The Maxine Studio.

The center is a direct response to a demand made by the Black Student Task Force following a 2016 demonstration. Programming for the center will be funded through an allocation from the Presidential Fund for Excellence.

The 3,200-square-foot facility, located at East 15th Avenue and Villard Street, has been designed to maximize flexibility and accommodate an array of activities, including studying, student meetings, academic support and even small classes. The center also will showcase cultural pieces and artwork that celebrate black heritage.

“The Black Cultural Center will be open to any and all students,” Marbury said. “This is a place to share and celebrate black culture. We are so proud that the voices of our students are creating a lasting legacy that will have a major impact on this university for decades.”

 The university will break ground for the project in the fall.