UVa-Wise sets July 19 groundbreaking for health and wellness center


The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its health and wellness center on Thursday, July 19, at 1 p.m.

The ceremony will be held on the lawn adjacent to Bowers-Sturgill Hall.

Richard and Leslie Gilliam, natives of Southwest Virginia, have pledged $8.3 million dollars for a new health and wellness center addition to the Slemp Student Center and renovations to Greear Gymnasium.

 Richard Gilliam, a native of Wise, is a 1974 graduate of UVa- Wise (formerly Clinch Valley College), and Leslie Gilliam is from Jonesville.

“My wife Leslie and I are delighted to help provide UVa-Wise with new facilities for fitness,” Richard Gilliam said. “Our goal is to provide for UVa-Wise in a way that will assist the school in attracting and retaining students and to support and encourage a healthy lifestyle for students.”

Their generous gift, the largest in the history of the school, will provide both a new addition to the Student Center’s existing fitness center and the renovation of 5,833 square feet of the Fred B. Greear Gymnasium. Construction of the health and wellness center will add 11,000 square feet to the current fitness facility.

The center will house a new exercise area, a multipurpose room for yoga, Pilates, dance and other activities, two conference rooms for individual and group health advising and instruction, and locker rooms. The renovation to portions of Greear Gymnasium will feature a new entry and refurbished restrooms and locker rooms. The project will provide excellent space for group exercise and intramural activities.