LeNoir Hall Reopens With Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

After listening to a series of speakers, attendees went inside for tours, demonstrations, and food


Picture provided by CSU

On Nov. 27, in the minutes leading up to 10 a.m., a warmly-dressed crowd gathered around the newly-renovated LeNoir Hall for the opening ribbon-cutting ceremony, some of them huddling around a vertical flame patio heater. As the crowd talked amongst themselves, their breaths were visible puffs of steam in the air. People peering through the windows could see shelves lined with bones and fossils behind a display case. Among the attendees were members of the LeNoir family, various Georgia representatives, and various donors.

“Education is the key. It’s the key to our workforce development, it’s the key to our economic development, and I use the slogan that education is the escalator to upward mobility,” said Georgia Rep. Calvin Smyre, whom Dr. Dennis Rome, Dean of College of Letters and Sciences referred to as “one of our biggest benefactors.” Smyre continued, “It’s the key to all keys to be a more productive citizen. So, that’s what these types of investments are. It’s a partnership. Columbus is known for partnerships.” Smyre added that such partnerships were the products of Republicans and Democrats working together for the common goal of making Columbus better and that “public policy determines how people live every single day.” He concluded, “Today is a culmination of several years of hard work, and I’m just delighted to be here.”

At 10 a.m., Chief of Staff John Lester took his place behind a podium and called for the crowd’s attention with three “good mornings.” “We’re gonna try and do this quick cause I know it’s cold,” he said. “Thank you all so, so much for coming out this morning. We’re here to celebrate the grand re-opening, as we’re calling it, of LeNoir Hall with this beautiful addition here. It’s about a $15 million project.” Lester said that while the project had been mostly paid for by the state, private donors were also to thank.

After Lester left the podium, Rep. Smyre, Rep. Richard Smith, Rep. Rick Jasperse, Dr. Rome, graduate student Ashley Desensi, and President Markwood each gave a speech.

“I’d like to thank all of our wonderful legislators today. This could not have happened without your support,” said Dr. Rome. “I’d like to thank our private donors, and I’ll save time by referring you to the back of our booklet to read their names. And many of them are here today. They collectively donated over $2 million, which helped fulfill the university’s matching obligation to have this wonderful building.” Rome described the new LeNoir Hall as having integrated prep rooms, mounted hoods, fume-pulling vents, movable tables, and new storage areas.

“So, 2018 marks my fourth year here at Columbus State and my first year here as a graduate student of the natural sciences,” said Desensi. “So I’ve spent a great deal of my time as both an undergrad and as a graduate student in LeNoir Hall. So really, this building is not just a building to me; it’s been like my second home.”

After the speeches were done, attendees were invited to go inside the building and look around. Faculty members gave demonstrations of their research, and food was provided on the second of the three floors. Visitors were also treated to liquid nitrogen-made ice cream from one of the lab demonstrations.