A concept sketch of the davis center prior to it's construction

The Davis Center has been the University of Vermont's living room for over 15 years — but that wasn't always the case! Up until the building's opening in 2007 UVM's 'center' looked very different.  

Previously at UVM...

The former Billings Library served the students on campus as the student center from 1963–2007. Prior to that time, the first floor of Waterman had served as the University's only designated student space. The 1986 renovation of Billings Student Center had been a hopeful time for the campus community, but it soon became apparent that this former library space was not suited as a vibrant center of student life. For over a decade, trustees, campus officials, and UVM community members struggled to gain the momentum necessary to implement the plans to build a brand-new facility.

Need for a campus crossroads

A campus life assessment conducted by WTW Architects/Brailesford and Dunlavey/Envision Strategies revealed the strong need for such a facility at UVM:

  • An overwhelming majority of students indicated that the campus was lacking a central gathering space
  • A traffic study of Billings confirmed this feeling: only 29% of the campus population was entering the space daily, compared with 84% at the neighboring University of New Hampshire.

New leadership, new goals

In 2002, the college welcomed the leadership of President Daniel Fogel, along with his vision to make UVM the premiere environmental university. On September 17, 2004, the Board of Trustees Facilities and Technologies Committee approved the construction of the largest and most ambitious building in UVM's history. The new, $61 million, 186,000-square-foot student center will serve as a “front door” to the university on Main Street and a gathering space for all members of the UVM community.

The center is named for the late Dudley H. Davis (`43), whose family announced a $4.66 million contribution to the project in November of 2005.

Construction Timelapse

(September 2005–December 2006)


the steel frame of the davis center as it was being constructed in 2006

Photo Gallery

We took notes when the walls came tumbling down (and when they were built back up).  

Check out our Construction Photos ➝
(Password: daviscenter)


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Awards & Recognition

Better Buildings By Design
Efficiency Vermont - Celebrating Excellence in Energy Conscious Building Design
Second Place - New Construction
February, 2008

Administrative & Facilities Services
Best Customer Service By a Team
Davis Center Custodial Staff
June, 2008

Administrative & Facilities Services
Best Customer Service - Process Improvement
Conference and Davis Center Operations & Event Services
June, 2009

Association of College Unions International (ACUI)
2009 Facility Design Award of Excellence April, 2009

Association of College Unions International (ACUI)
2009 Excellence in Innovations for Sustainability April, 2009

National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS)
2009 Innovative Achievement in Auxiliary Services Award 
November, 2009