Grayson College’s board of trustees approved the use of $750,000 this week for renovations of the school’s former math hub and tutoring center, as well as lighting systems for the college’s softball field.
The funding requests came before the board as two separate consideration items and amid a number of recent ongoing building projects. The bulk of the money came as a request to use $650,000 of the college’s existing funds to reconfigure and repurpose the former tutoring center and math hub.
Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said the school had to shuffle and relocate programs throughout the campus as projects, like the new student success center, near completion and free up existing facility space.
“The area we’re vacating is close to our health science classrooms and faculty offices, so we’re renovating that in order to accommodate our emergency medical technician program,” McMillen said. “We had double the enrollment in that program this last semester, so having the necessary space for that is very important.”
McMillen said no start date had been identified for the project and other changes, but pointed to March as the month when work would hopefully begin. The board approved the request for $650,000.
“If (it costs more) than that, we’ll have to come back and bring that to the board for them to decide,” McMillen said. “The good news is that our dormitory fell right within the budget and the Advanced Manufacturing Lab was slightly below what we expected. We’re hoping to see that in our other buildings in the works right now and we’re hoping to see that in this case, as well.”
Trustees were also asked to consider a financial challenge put to the college in the amount of $100,000, after a pair of private donors stepped forward with $80,000 to help light the school’s softball field. McMillen said Grayson College has been included in the discussion of potential host schools for conference tournaments and field lighting would be necessary to secure any such opportunity.
“One of the things our school would need to do that is lights so that multiple games can be played through the day and into the night,” McMillen said. “We have the option, in the future, of maybe renting lights in order to make that happen or having lights of our own. That would allow us to have more flexibility with our scheduling, practices and creating opportunities for others to use our facilities.”
The college president said the combined total of $180,000 was in line with project-costs estimated within the last two to three years, but decisions about temporary or permanent lighting would be made as updated figures were obtained.
McMillen said the decision to invest in athletics has generated community support for the school. He pointed toward the college’s decision to bring back men’s and women’s basketball teams early last year and a $50,000 donation from First United Bank, which followed and was put toward the purchase of a new scoreboard for the college gymnasium.
“We’ve seen donations like this come as we’ve invested more in our athletic programs,” McMillen said.
Trustees approved the request for $100,000. McMillen said the college had no start date picked for the lighting project either, but hoped to begin work as soon as possible.