Shenandoah University officials broke ground for the third building in The Village, the Dove’s Nest, on Saturday, April 14. The project was made possible by a generous gift from Shenandoah alumnus Wilbur Dove ’59 and his wife, Clare.
The Village is Shenandoah University’s newest residential community of apartment-style living for upperclass student leaders. The first building, Caruthers House, opened in August 2016 and the second house, Roni’s Roost, opened in October 2016. The Dove’s Nest will house 24 students, bringing the number of students living in The Village to 72. Upon completion, The Village will have five buildings, a sand volleyball court, outdoor grill, fire pit, and house 120 students.
Complete with marble countertops and fully equipped kitchens, each apartment in The Village is approximately 1,600 square feet, with four single-occupancy bedrooms, two bathrooms, and inviting indoor and outdoor common spaces.
“I think the most important thing about the Village, and the addition of this new building, is really the experiences that students have while living here,” said senior Arun Thottakara ’18, a resident of The Village and president of the Student Government Association.
According to Thottakara, The Village helps students to take their first steps toward adulthood, as they learn how to shop for groceries, cook, budget money, and clean their homes.
“The trial and error of adulthood is something you have to live out, and these furnished apartments provide students with their own bedroom, sink, laundry room and kitchen – everything that is needed for them to transition into adulthood,” he said. “In reality, this is more than a series of buildings, it is a project that is going to grow the entire culture of this school.”
The Village also provides close proximity to university buildings like the library and the grill in the Brandt Student Center and to fitness classes, football games, and numerous campus activities. Students selected to live in The Village are university leaders heavily involved in the life of the university, and they also mentor younger students.
“On a cool day in December, we heard wonderful, surprising news from Wilbur and his wife Clare,” said Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “They wanted to step up and do something significant for our students. So we will have the Dove’s Nest for generations to come.”
The building was designed by Earl Swensson Associates (ESa), an architectural firm from Nashville, Tennessee, that also designed several buildings on campus, including the Health & Life Sciences Building and the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center. OakCrest Companies Inc., which built Caruthers House and Roni’s Roost, will also construct the Dove’s Nest.
Wilbur Dove, speaking on behalf of himself and his wife, said, “When President Tracy Fitzsimmons and [Senior Vice President & Vice President for Advancement] Mitch Moore gave my wife and I a tour of Caruthers House and Roni’s Roost, I was surprised. I didn’t know there was such as thing as senior class dorms. It brought back memories of when I was at Shenandoah College in Dayton, Virginia, and I lived in The Barracks.”
Dove and his Shenandoah roommate are still great friends 59 years after graduation, and while both continued their education elsewhere, neither felt as close an affinity with those institutions as they do with Shenandoah.
“Shenandoah has a warm spot in our hearts,” he said.