Arkansas State University - Newport

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ASUN Lobby
March 2019

ASUN History...Building an institution


The visual imprint of an institution is vital.  When individuals visit a college campus, one of the first things they notice are the buildings that represent a vital link between students and learning as well as faculty/staff interaction.  They personify living and learning spaces which represent collections of thought and evolution for the future.  Some might say, and I am one of them, they represent tangible evidence of progress.  Whether an institution is involved in creating a building from scratch, or an even more pivotal mission to repurpose and craft an existing space to adequately meet institutional need, it is a significant responsibility of institutions to recognize the importance of these edifices.  These spaces exert a unique institutional culture and feel all their own.

ASU-Newport's Walton Hall
ASU-Newport's Walton Hall

One of the most rewarding components of being connected to an institution is witnessing the creation, evolution and expansion of workspaces.  It is almost like being connected to progress, which, in any form, is immensely rewarding.  Nothing connotes success more outwardly than the addition or repurposing of facilities that play such a critical role in student success.  When we look across the landscape of ASU-Newport, and the three campuses that form this institution, we see a variety of changes from the early years.

ASUN-Marked Tree
ASUN-Marked Tree

Whether we refer to constructing from the ground up, or structural/substantive renovations, the change in the look of ASU-Newport’s campus communities is a very real reminder of the evolution that has been and is taking place. In 1991, one building stood to host all of ASU-Newport’s needs.  With growth came the need for new areas to accommodate functions as well as the growth of faculty/staff and students.  With the acquisition of Walton Hall, more classroom space was available. It allowed for the expansion of the library. The Center for the Arts could now house events as commencement, patron series and other performances.  When the Student Community Center was constructed, such advantages as food services and massive community spaces unleashed a new era for ASU-Newport.

ASU-Newport's original building was once a vocational school.

These evolutions have not been limited to the Newport campus.  ASU-Newport’s campuses in Jonesboro and Marked Tree have experienced renovations. When these two joined ASU-Newport, a serious master plan came into existence that would blend existing facilities, repurpose space and add new buildings and facades to ensure up-to-date areas that fit ASUN’s strategic priorities. One has only to look at the renovated interiors and exteriors of the Marked Tree Campus, complete with the Delta Grill, as well as the Fowler Family Hospitality Services Building in Jonesboro to see foresight in action with the use of a state-of-the-art culinary facility as well as expansion through land acquisition that will ensure our campuses never become locked. 

ASU-Newport Campus

The future is full of promise…as we embark on a renovation of the Student Community Center in Newport, the addition of a building in partnership with Unity Health, as well as strategic space discussions on all three campuses, it becomes apparent how fortunate we are as an institution to not only possess well-crafted facilities but also the ability to transform them to meet our growing needs.

This history submission is brought to you by Ike Wheeler, Dean for Community Engagement.