Published on Thursday, 30 October 2014 20:57 - Written by By KELLY GOOCH email@example.com
With singing, prayer and uplifting words, Texas College ceremoniously broke ground Thursday on a new dorm and various other capital improvements.
Texas College board members, faculty/staff, alumni and students, along with visitors, friends of the college and community members, came together for the event, which took place on campus.
Texas College President Dr. Dwight J. Fennell called it “a very special moment in the life of the college.”
He said the planned capital improvement project has been years in the making, and now the college is ready for construction to take place.
“In 1894, a group of individuals perhaps stood in the same spots … to begin an educational process for them, a disenfranchised people. They began with a vision … to not only build a facility but implant in the livelihoods of a people the opportunity for educational and spiritual development…,” he said. “Now today, as we come together as a community of friends at a different time, but essentially for the same reason, ... I remain inspired by the history with what has been done, but I remain more motivated and excited about the future with the potential that exists for this institution.”
So, he said, as the college celebrates Phase 1 of a proposed four-phase initiative, it looks forward to completion of multiple projects.
He said Phase 1 includes a new dorm; redesigning a building and making it into a music hall; an expanded student center; the addition of a wellness center and the addition of a weight room complex and athletic complex; the renovation of Fair and Daniel halls; newly designed and expanded dining facilities; and the creation of a redesigned campus entrance.
“The new and renovated accommodations of Phase 1 mean new life for Texas College and … increased learning opportunities for our students and a community of friends,” Fennell said.
“The school had lost its accreditation and funding, and we really didn’t know what to do, but we did know that we serve a God who can do all things,” Christian said.
From 1998 until now, the college has transitioned and transformed, he said.
“Texas College has come a mighty long way,” he said. “Today, we are doing something that we have envisioned for years to come.”
Tyler Mayor Martin Heines congratulated the Texas College family and thanked students and staff of this college “that really touches the lives of so many young men and women that need educational opportunities.”
“Education is the answer not only for this country, but for this community,” Heines said. “So thank you for everything that you have done. You’ve increased the educational opportunity in our city, not only for our residents, but for residents all over this country.”
Tyler City Councilman Ed Moore said the Phase 1 project is a great testament to the long-range plans of the college, and it has to be a vision from the CME Church leadership and Fennell to embark on this building project.
He said the city has worked with the college, helping to improve the surroundings of campus, and has future plans to enhance the Texas College District through street improvements, new lighting and sidewalk improvements, among other things.
“The building project will increase campus population, therefore increasing the city population of Tyler, Texas,” Moore said. “We look forward to supporting Texas College as it continues to grow in this community.”
The Rev. Dr. Tyrone T. Davis, chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees of Texas College, talked to attendees about “waiting.”
He said the college once struggled for reaccreditation and financial stability, and a lot of the responsibility fell on the committee he oversaw.
“We had to come up with plans, and we had to make sure that things were stable within,” Davis said. “People kept saying, ‘But we need to do more.’ But we kept saying, ‘We have to wait. It’s not quite right.’ People kept saying, ‘Our young people deserve more.’ We had to say, ‘Yes, but we have to wait. The time is not quite right.’ People kept saying that there’s a change that’s needed. We had to keep saying, ‘We have to wait because the time is not right.’
“In that time, we were able to address the needs from the inside so that we could be prepared to afford the responsibility of …this building project. We did not do it by ourselves as a committee. The trustee board worked together and not with just the trustee board alone, but with the support of many others. Dollars came, commitments were made, and we were able to bring about the change that brings us to this day. So I’m happy today to join among others to say that…the waiting is over. We can now go to work and see the growth for the good of the young men and young women who will continue to make a difference in the life of our country with the educations that they receive here at Texas College.”
Texas College Student Government Association President Jeremiah Eutsey spoke on behalf of students, saying that there’s no better time for the groundbreaking celebration than around homecoming.
“The homecoming season reminds each and every one of us what Texas College has poured into our lives,” he said.
Eutsey said students are elated that building and renovation projects are beginning and look forward to future program possibilities.
“Remember, students, that every day is a great day to be a student, but today is a historic day in our life at Texas College,” Eutsey said.
The Phase 1 project is estimated to cost $20 million. Fennell said the college has pursued financing, and also has had contributions that have been raised through private gifts and philanthropic support.
The Texas College National Alumni Association is hosting a 5K walk/run at 7 a.m. Saturday at the campus; 2404 N. Grand Ave. Anyone interested may register online at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/texas-college-national-alumni-association-1st-5k-walkrun-building-for-the-future-tickets-11388973727 .
Proceeds will go toward Texas College capital improvements.
Phase 1 is expected to be complete by October 2015.