In October 2014, Davidson College acquired a space unlike any other on campus: an old brick building at 210 Delburg Street.
The un-renovated former textile mill with multiple massive rooms is situated directly across from the popular local restaurant Brickhouse Tavern.
Property owners Bridgeport Fabrics first approached the college a couple years ago correctly assuming the school’s interest for the myriad opportunities that come with the unique space.
At the recommendation of the members of the college’s leadership team, President Quillen, in consultation with the Chair of the Board of Trustees and other Trustees selected by the board chair, finalized the strategic property acquisition.
“This space will further Davidson’s primary purpose by offering students, faculty, and staff more opportunities for original work and creative problem-solving in collaboration with each other and community partners—businesses, non-profits, start-ups, and potentially other educational institutions,” Quillen said.
Late last month, the President’s office initiated a conversation about the new space’s use, promoting dialogue amongst a crowd of students and mainly campus community members.
Davidson’s Director of Property Management, Mike Kessler, opened up the conversation explaining the historic and architectural overview of the property.
Following Kessler’s presentation, President Quillen led an open-forum dialogue asking students, faculty and staff to share their ideas for how the college might strategically leverage the property, said Hannah Levinson, the school’s first Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The only catch: these ideas had to be financially self-sustaining and innovative, while creatively and collaboratively embracing the open architecture and commercial zoning of the building.
Ideas that arose include: the creation of a space that advances an entrepreneurial ecosystem; fabrication, maker and machining space; a place for Davidson to consistently and directly engage with the local community; and partnering with companies and community organizations.
Betsy Marshall ‘16 was one of the students who attended the talk. “I’m really excited about the future of the Delburg space. I think the space will provide the college with a unique opportunity to promote community collaboration, student entrepreneurship, and possibly artistic endeavors as well,” she said. “Additionally, I’m hopeful that the space will include a cafe, lounge, library, etc. so that all Davidson students are encouraged to wander over and feel a part of these exciting ventures!”
President Quillen too voiced her excitement on the space’s endless possibilities engendered from the creative minds of the community.
“The building’s location, wide open floor plan, size and versatility have already generated great ideas from our campus community, and I look forward to learning more, especially from students, about how we can best use this space to serve our goal of educating very talented young people for lives of leadership, service, impact and global citizenship,” she said.