Lyon College revives Edwards Commons

Its new 44,000-square-foot campus center under construction will bear the name of the Lyon College landmark that served students for decades — Edwards Commons.

Lyon College President Dr. Donald Weatherman said the campus isn’t the same without the place that was affectionately known as simply “Eds.”

“I believe the Board of Trustee’s decision to keep the Edwards name on the campus center is very fitting,” he said. “John Edwards and his family were very strong supporters of the College and I am pleased their name will still be featured on this prominent building on campus.”

A fire destroyed the original Edwards Commons in October 2010. The building had been a staple of the Lyon College community since the late 1970s, but the dining hall portion of Eds was completed in 1983. Dr. Weatherman said he ate one of the first meals served in Eds and one of the last meals the day of the fire.

Edwards Commons was named for the late John W. and Lucille Welman Edwards of Batesville. Mr. Edwards was a former trustee and a banker who had given the largest gift for the dining hall project and the largest ever by a Batesville resident.

The loss of Edwards Commons left students eating meals in the Small Gym portion of Becknell Gymnasium before moving last fall to a 270-seat temporary dining facility known as The Temp.

The new Edwards Commons will include a dining hall, kitchen, balcony, The Scot Shop, game room, bistro, student life offices, meeting spaces, and more.

Construction on the new building began in October 2011. It is scheduled to be ready for students this August.

The project is expected to cost approximately $9.6 million. Funding for the new student center will come from insurance proceeds from the Edwards Commons fire and from donations.