Students have likely noticed new furniture, flooring and study areas in Newcomer. The renovations that took place over winter break are meant to benefit more than just those who take classes in the building. 

A joint effort between the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), the physical plant and a $90,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, the project will help Newcomer serve as a hub for the community.

The improvements to Newcomer are part of a larger project of improving the connection between Goshen College and the community.  Dr. Erika Buhring, executive director of the CCE, hopes that the renovated building will “increase a culture of volunteerism … and spirit of reciprocity” between the community and the college.

Buhring hopes that the CCE will be able to host career networking opportunities, internship events and volunteering initiatives in the updated Newcomer building. In addition to community benefits, it will also give students a new space conducive to “hosting brainstorm sessions,” said Buhring, whether as individuals or groups.

Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, helped write the grant to secure the funds. She explained that the money was meant to be an investment in Newcomer to help GC’s “outward-facing” mission, making Newcomer more of a “mixed-use” building in the future that will increase community engagement.

Michelle Horning, chair of the business department that is housed in Newcomer, is excited about the renovation that “results in a more professional-looking space that will be more functional for students and visually appealing for campus guests.” Horning is also appreciative of the upgrades that students might not see, such as a new space for faculty to eat lunch and have meetings.

The project was originally slated to be completed over the summer, said Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of facilities, but with some supplies on backorder, conflicts with vendors, and professors needing the space, it wasn’t finished until winter break. 

The only step remaining now is adding artwork to “warm the space,” said Good Kaufmann. She hopes to make it “a [new] stop on admissions tours.”