ROCK HILL, S.C. - Last summer, Winthrop University officials presented Leitner Construction Company with a concept of a student seating area to be built near Kinard Hall. "We turned it into reality," said Jimmy Leitner, co-owner of the Rock Hill company with his brother, Mac. "We’re tickled to death that it came off the paper and that it is as good as it is."
The brothers’ enthusiasm for the project prompted a recent gift equivalent to the project’s construction cost. Winthrop will show its gratitude by naming the seating area the Leitner Wall.
The wall already has inscribed on it five words that capture the aspirations of the Winthrop community – service, excellence, diversity, community and leadership. It now has the additional inscription: The Leitner Wall. Contributed by the families of James D. Leitner Jr. and Simms M. Leitner 2005.
Jimmy Leitner worked on the project this summer accompanied by his Boykin spaniel, Salley, along with Kenny Smith, a Clemson University construction management student from Rock Hill. Wes Love, project manager from Winthrop’s facilities management, also monitored the job. The project offered distinctive challenges due to the curvature of the wall and the slope of the ground. Masons, who are used to laying materials in a straight line, had to check and re-check the stone height for consistency, Leitner noted.
Winthrop officials said the end result has proven to be a wonderful addition and popular hangout. “Jimmy built this as a labor of love,” said Walter Hardin, associate vice president for facilities management. "He had to figure out how to make it work."
The wall concept was originally created by Keith Walters '97, formerly of facilities management, to blend with Kinard’s Neo-Georgian style. The font choice for the words pays homage to the inscriptions on Kinard’s façade.
Leitner Construction Company has worked on many improvements around the Winthrop campus over the years. Among them are the construction of the Winthrop Ballpark, Terry Tower and batting cage for softball, Kinard renovations, Tillman Auditorium improvements, site preparations for the Lois Rhame West Center and now for the new academic classroom building near Bancroft Hall.