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King University Breaks Ground on Oval Restoration

Oval Groundbreaking CeremonyBRISTOL, Tenn., July 28, 2015 – A project to completely restore the King University Oval on the school’s main campus in Bristol was kicked off during a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, July 28.

“The Oval walk surrounds the center of our campus and is the heart of our university community,” said Dr. Richard A. Ray, interim president at King University. “It serves to invite students into their journey here at King and to provide a visible symbol of their completion of this journey as seniors. We are very thankful that the complete restoration of this handsome brick walkway is now underway for us.”

Set on 135 wooded acres with Georgian-style architectural buildings, the main campus at King University would not be quite the same without the Oval. The buildings surrounding the Oval were constructed to face inward, creating a space that soon became the center of activity not only for students, faculty, and staff but also for the surrounding communities.

First bricked in 1962, the Oval, which has seen much wear during the past few years, will be both expanded and restored. BurWil Construction Company began work on the restoration on Monday, July 27. The design for the restoration follows recommendations by the architects of Thompson and Litton, and the Brick Industry Association.

“The entire Oval will be restored utilizing brick pavers,” said Tom Larson, director of Business Operations at King University. “The new walkways will be brick without mortar, so it should have greater longevity and minimized maintenance.”

The project will take approximately three months to complete and utilize more than 40,000 bricks. The removed bricks will be cleaned and preserved for future projects.

“We are so excited to break ground on this much-needed project,” said Warren Payne (’69), chair of King University’s Board of Trustees. “The Oval has important significance to the King community. This project reminds us not only to embrace the history and traditions of King but also look to the future and the coming celebration of our sesquicentennial, 150th, year of building meaningful lives of achievement and cultural transformation in Christ.”

In addition to the restoration of the bricked Oval, the area’s lampposts will also be replaced. The new lampposts will be similar in aesthetic to the lighting at the University’s Student Center Complex. The new lights, which will be more energy efficient, will significantly increase the lighting on the Oval in the evenings and provide increased safety for the King community.

Other projects taking place on King’s main campus this summer include the renovation of the E.W. King Library, paving throughout campus, and updates to the wireless network capacity.

“We are very grateful to all who have helped to make this restoration possible,” said Dr. Ray. “We feel it helps us to look toward our 150th anniversary, our sesquicentennial celebration in 2017. Much excitement thus lies ahead.”

Visit to view a live feed of the Oval restoration project.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.