In the weeks before the new Student Center officially opened, early mornings and late nights were par for the course for Randolph’s director of capital projects. When he was not juggling e-mails, coordinating deliveries, checking behind contractors, or giving tours, Bobby Bennett could often be found staining wood, hauling furniture, or fixing a number of last-minute problems.
After 20 months of renovation, Bennett was determined to make sure the building was ready for its opening. “I’ve been here 17 years, and there hasn’t been a renovation close to this in scope or in difficulty,” Bennett said. “It is going to move the campus forward in a way no other renovation could.”
Bennett, who has a teenage daughter and college-age son, earned a degree in business administration and finance from Liberty University. He has almost always worked in construction. “I love being a part of something like this,” he said. “You are taking something old and making it appear new again. It’s hard work, but it is invigorating.”
An avid fisherman and hunter, Bennett also prefers working outside. After joining the College as a carpenter, Bennett went on to serve as project supervisor and director of Buildings & Grounds before taking his current position. “Bobby doesn’t do anything halfway,” said Chris Burnley, former vice president for finance and administration. “He goes above and beyond to complete projects with the highest attention to detail, quality, timeliness, and value.”
In addition to managing the Student Center renovation, Bennett also coordinated last summer’s renovation of Bell Hall, which was completed under budget and in less than three months. “He is one of the hardest-working people on campus, and he knows more about the campus and its operations than just about anyone else,” Burnley said. “There are so many aspects of the projects we have performed on campus that would be deficient without Bobby’s insight and insistence that things be done correctly.”
At the Student Center’s grand opening in February, John E. Klein, president, attributed the facility’s successful completion to Bennett’s determination and skill. “He handled all the details and problems with his usual energy, enthusiasm, and dedication,” Klein said. “He had to compensate for unknown conditions, supplier mistakes, and other unexpected issues and still brought in a quality product. We were very lucky to have had Bobby working on this project.”
The payoff for Bennett, however, was finally being able to see students enjoy the facility. “You don’t get to work in many places where students will walk down the hall and know you by name. I get to be a part of meeting their needs, and that makes it all worthwhile.”