By Steve Holt, Staff Writer
A significant portion of the Centennial Campaign, a $150 million university fund-raising project, likely will focus on campus improvements and beautification.
Dr. John Tyson, vice president for development and alumni relations, said that while a monetary goal for the campus, or capital, improvements has not been set, several main campus projects have been proposed.
“Students coming in have changing expectations of what they want to see and what they need in a university environment,” Tyson said. “Secondly, they enhance our ability to provide or to support an engaged teaching style. Classes today are no longer just a professor lecturing and students listening. That requires different types of facilities.”
Tyson and chief administrative services officer Kevin Watson said a priority project will be the conversion of the former Burford Music Center into the headquarters for the Department of Education.
Tyson said there are plans to construct a building that will house the Welcome Center and classrooms for several departments, which would be located along Judge Ely Boulevard between the university’s main entrance and University Park apartments. Watson added a jogging track around campus as one of his priorities, and many of the other projects involve campus beautification.
Tyson emphasized the importance of constantly improving and updating the appearance of ACU’s campus.
He added that capital improvements enhance the university’s ability to recruit new students.
“The first impression we make to people who are not familiar to our campus says a lot, and there is a lot of competition among universities,” Tyson said. “Having a campus that is attractive and appealing and serves the needs of prospective students enhances our ability to recruit more students.”
At the state of the university address Sept. 23, Tyson said preliminary goals for specific fund-raising areas allocated $95 million for the endowment, $38 million for capital projects and $17 million for annual operations. Tyson reported that about 30 percent of the total campaign goal had already been achieved.
Watson, who oversees physical resources and maintenance, said he will be grateful for any funds devoted to capital improvements. He said groundbreaking dates for most of the projects have yet to be established.
“All of the projects in the campaign will have to be fully funded before we can begin, so the timing is based on fund-raising,” Watson said.
Tyson will make a full update of the progress of the Centennial Campaign, which is running from January 2001 until January 2006, at the President’s Circle dinner in February.