Though much of the UC Davis campus has been quiet over the past few months, the lot west of Shields Library has remained abuzz with construction work on the new Graduate Center at Historic Walker Hall. Scheduled to open later this year, the newly renovated building will promote interdisciplinary interactions and build community by serving students and postdoctoral scholars.
The center will house a variety of spaces including a quiet writing room, a parent study lounge, informal interaction areas, small meeting rooms, conference rooms for graduate-level events and office space for Graduate Studies, the Graduate Student Association and the Postdoctoral Scholar Association.
Walker Hall has a rich history on campus. Originally known as the Agricultural Engineering building, Walker Hall was first dedicated on Nov. 12, 1928 along with the Animal Science Building (renamed Hart Hall in 1963). The building housed agricultural classrooms and shops and was used for both research and instruction. The building also served as the home of the Agricultural Engineering department, Walker Hall has also housed the Civil Engineering, Design, Landscape Design, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture and the Design Museum. On the lintel above the main entrance to the building, the original writing proclaiming it the “Engineering Building” can still be seen.
In addition to much-needed space, the Graduate Center will provide access to a variety of graduate student services, including the GradPathways Institute for Professional Development, diversity resources, counseling and advising. Walker Hall will also house three new general-use classrooms adding more than 350 seats to campus inventory, and the outdoor area will accommodate additional parking for bikes as a part of Phase II of the project.