Off the Clock attendees got a first look at the University of Central Arkansas’s new Donaghey Hall in advance of its grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce organized the after-hours event, which was presented by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Crews & Associates, and Whisinvest Realty, LLC.
In accordance with the “Member Date” theme, employees of Chamber-member businesses were encouraged to invite a non-member to Off the Clock. Those in attendance sampled food from the four restaurants that will be housed in Donaghey Hall: Mosaique Bar & Grill, Uncle T’s Food Mart, Marble Slab Creamery and Great American Cookies, and Blue Sail Coffee. Local breweries Lost 40 Brewing, Diamond Bear Brewing Co., and Stone’s Throw Brewing served beer on tap.
Tom Courtway, president of the University of Central Arkansas, said Donaghey Hall will become a go-to place for those out and about in Conway.
“Donaghey Hall is right here on Donaghey Avenue across from a vibrant campus, and it is going to add to it,” he said. “We believe this place will become a destination for families before and after events, whether it’s at Reynolds Performance Hall, the Conway Symphony Orchestra, athletic events, or an art exhibit.”
First Security Bank financed the $16 million, 67,000-square-foot facility. Johnny Adams, president and CEO of First Security Bank in Conway, said the corner of Bruce and Donaghey holds memories for longtime Conway residents and UCA alumni.
“When I was about 8 years old, this area was called Short’s Corner,” Adams said. “And for UCA alumni, this place has always been the corner for campus. So in that tradition, it’s great to see the corner of Bruce and Donaghey carrying on as a special place.
“We’re appreciative to the team at UCA for stepping outside the boundaries of UCA and building a multi-purpose facility that is a great asset for the community and for the Donaghey Corridor,” Adams said.
In addition to the businesses on the ground floor of Donaghey Hall, the four-story facility houses 165 sophomores and juniors on the second, third, and fourth floors. Joe Whisenhunt of Whisinvest Realty, LLC, and member of the UCA Board of Trustees said Donaghey Hall is important for the University and for the Conway community.
“Since I’ve been on the board, my whole thrust has been improving the student experience, and one of the things we’re always looking at is housing,” he said. “We want to enhance the student experience in everything we do, and this building’s design that incorporates a retail component accomplishes that while also being an asset to Conway as a whole.”
Lori Ross Scroggin, chief development officer at Conway Regional Health System, emphasized Conway Regional’s support of UCA through providing scholarships for students and employment opportunities for alumni. UCA and Conway Regional are both part of the city’s newly defined “Midtown” area.
“Conway Regional is a proud neighbor of UCA,” she said. “Many of our employees are UCA graduates, and each year we provide scholarships to students who choose to attend school at UCA. Since 2010, UCA students have received more than $100,000 in scholarships from Conway Regional.
“We’re also excited to see Donaghey Hall raise the profile of this part of town. It benefits the entire area and the city, and we hope to do the same.”
Off the Clock
In addition to presenting sponsors Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Crews & Associates, and Whisinvest Realty, LLC, Off the Clock: Member Date was made possible by the following sponsors: