With a large crowd of family and friends on hand, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke dedicated the English E. Jones Health and Physical Education Center on Feb. 2.
Ribbon cut – At the February 2 building dedication ceremony from left: Dr. Tommy Thompson (chair, Physical Education), Dr. Roger Brown (Provost), Dr. Zoe Locklear (dean, School of Education) Carl Meares (trustee chair), Randall and Margaret Jones (son and wife of Dr. English Jones , Chancellor Meadors, Judy and Steve Jones (daughter and son) and Dan Kenney (athletic director)
The dedication was staged in the new, two-story main lobby of the Jones Center. At a cost of $8.8 million, more than 32,000 square feet was added to the building, featuring 16 new offices, three classrooms, fitness center and athletic training facility.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors praised the new facility and the man it is named for.
“It’s a nice addition that has nearly doubled the size of the building,” Chancellor Meadors said. “During Chancellor Jones’ tenure, he built this University into a true regional University.”
UNCP’s leader from 1962-79, English E. Jones ushered in an era marked by construction and enrollment growth, reminiscent of the University today, said Dr. Roger Brown, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
“This is truly a beautiful building that will serve as a showplace for our great University,” Dr. Brown said. “Located as it is at the heart of student activity on campus, this building will serve us well for many years to come.”
New main entrance
“I think Chancellor Jones would approve of the surging enrollment and building boom of the past five years at his University,” he said. “And I think he would be proud of what we have done with his namesake.”
Several generations of the late English Jones’ family were on hand, including his wife, Margaret Jones, daughter, Judy, and sons, Randall and Steve, who spoke for the family.
“My dad was really interested in seeing this University grow,” Steve Jones said. “They said he could get money when no one else could, even when there was no money available.”
Besides the Jones Center, which was first dedicated in 1973, Chancellor Jones built the Herbert C. Oxendine Science Building, the Mary H. Livermore Library, Education and Business buildings and North and Belk residence halls.
English E. Jones
“I am very proud of my father,” Jones said. “He proved the saying that you’re never too small to do great things.”
“We have placed his name on this wonderful building, but more important is that his name is etched in our hearts,” he said.
The building features several additions enclosed with green-tinted glass including the fitness center that faces the James B. Chavis University Center. Future plans for this area of campus include a Bookstore, convenience store, post office and an annex to the University Center.
As Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Neil Hawk noted, some of the real heroes of the 18-month construction project are the faculty and staff of the Health and Physical Education and Athletic departments who remained in the building during renovations.
“This was an unusual project and a major renovation in that we maintained occupancy of the building,” Hawk said. “The faculty and staff who worked in this building are to be commended.”
“It is a great design, a functional building, a beautiful building,” he said.