With an Eye Toward Boosting Recruitment, Westminster Completes Renovation of Enrollment and Financial Aid Office

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The old Enrollment and Financial Aid office has undergone a major renovation. The once-nondescript space is now filled with bold colors, modern furniture and eye-catching graphics.

The new look is part of a larger plan to strengthen recruitment efforts.

“Dr. Akande termed it ‘the front yard of Westminster,’” Director of Financial Aid Aimee Bristow said, explaining that the redesign is meant to give prospective students a strong first impression of the college.

But the update is more than just cosmetic. The goal is also to capture what it is like to be part of the Westminster community and to create a special experience for prospective students.

“We wanted to make sure to take the time and attention to tell a story about the accomplishments of the college, alumni, staff and students,” President Akande said.

The construction took place during Thanksgiving break last semester. During the remodel, the office was temporarily relocated to the choir room after finals, and staff regained access to the new space on Jan. 8, the Friday before classes began,

According to Dan Haslag, associate vice president for institutional operations, an assortment of people from various companies and from Westminster performed the work. The design firm Spellman Brady & Company did the interior design, including the colors and furniture selection, while in-house staff and the local company Glove Con completed the painting, lighting, ceiling and other renovation work. The project manager was a Westminster alumnus.

A dedication was done on Feb. 5 for the donors, William and Katherine Felder. William is a Westminster alumnus and board member; thus, the office was renamed The William D. and Katherine C. Felder Center for Admissions & Student Financial Planning.

“The reaction of current students were of surprise, ‘wow,’ and ‘oh my gosh, this is the same place,’” Bristow said, adding that some prospective students who came during the fall 2015 semester and revisited during the spring 2016 semester commented on the renovation and seemed to like it.

However, some students were critical of the renovation and the college’s emphasis on prospective students.

“The school tends to forget about the current students and focuses more on recruitment,” Scovia Aweko, ’17, said.

Westminster alumnus Tony Mitchell, ’15, said the project “would benefit more if it affected current students.” The money should have been used on retention instead, he added.

What do you think about the new renovation? Let us know in the comments section.

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