Recent Lease Downtown Gives University New Meeting Ground

UCA has leased an information center and event hall in Downtown Conway, set to open Dec. 15, in an attempt to merge the Conway community with the university campus.

The space, located at 1107 Oak St., consists of a gallery, an information hall, an event space and a kitchen. The leased building across from EM Jeans has exposed brick walls, high ceilings, skylights and concrete finished floors. It is also part of Historical Downtown Conway.

The gallery space will hold student and faculty artwork. The event space will host a variety of events that feature UCA affiliates, such as recitals, plays and concerts.

The information hall will have information on UCA’s colleges and will host an updated board featuring UCA’s cultural events. The goal for the information hall is to involve community members in what UCA has to offer, from education to athletics to art.

“President Courtway wanted a space to share UCA’s treasures with the rest of the Conway community,” Outreach and Engagement Associate Vice President Shelley Mehl said. “We feel like, unless you’re on campus, it’s hard to know what’s going on at UCA. And we have so much to offer the community.”

Mehl said the space is going to be diverse and dynamic, having an array of options for the community and campus. Along with showcasing UCA’s many avenues, the space is open for reservation. It also hopes to offer culinary classes to the public.

The event hall could be reserved by UCA affiliates and community members. The space’s classes will be open to the public.

“The goal is for the space to be diverse,” Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center Coordinator Melanie Straw-Watson said. “It gives us a place with opportunity and potential to grow our campus and share what makes UCA special.”

Outreach and Engagement offices have already received inquiries about renting the space for next year.

“President Courtway has had this idea for quite a while, but he was waiting for the right space,” Mehl said. “Being in the heart of Conway gives us accessibility to both community members and those less familiar with Conway and UCA’s campus.”

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 11, 2015 print edition of The Echo.

photo courtesy of Shelley Mehl

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