MILLIGAN COLLEGE –– The largest monetary gift ever to Milligan College will allow the school to begin construction this summer on the first new dormitories the school has built in almost 25 years.
Milligan President Bill Greer announced in a news conference Friday the school would begin breaking ground on the $12.5 million, 12-building student housing village this summer.
“The final plans are still being developed but we have a real good idea of what these buildings are going to look like, what this village is going to look like,” Greer said. “And I think it’s going to be very transformational to this campus and to student life at Milligan.”
The village will include an intramural field and common spaces. The first phase of the plan is to construct up to six of the residence halls over the next year and a half.
“Hopefully by the fall of 2013 we’ll have six of them ready for occupancy,” Greer said.
The first phase of the housing village will add approximately 100 beds. Once completed, the entire housing project will take Milligan’s on-campus housing capacity from 600 to approximately 800.
Milligan’s enrollment has grown from 843 students in 2002 to 1,208 students this year.
Construction was able to begin this year by a gift of more than $4.7 million toward the site preparation and construction from Richard and Leslie Gilliam of Charlottesville, Va. The Gilliams also donated the funds for the construction of Milligan’s Gilliam Wellness Center, and they support an endowed scholarship in memory of Richard’s father, Marvin, who was a 1939 graduate of Milligan.
The new village will be located in what could be considered the “back” of campus on farm land that was purchased a few years ago for the purposes of expansion.
Former Milligan president Don Jeanes, who retired this past summer, was on hand for the announcement.
“All of our dorms are pretty well packed, so it’s a space need,” Jeanes said. “Either do this or start letting people live off campus, and part of our emphasis is the community life and we like for as many people as possible to live on campus.”
Many new buildings were constructed on campus during Jeanes’ 14-year presidency, including a performing arts center, a wellness center and new tennis facility.
To honor Jeanes and his wife Clarinda, the school unveiled Friday a water fountain dedicated to the former first couple of Milligan. Designed by Tony Street and constructed by Burleson Construction, the granite fountain is engraved with Don and Clarinda’s handprints and “Christian Education, the Hope of the World.”
“It’s a beautiful piece, and Clarinda and I are most grateful that they would do something so significant here on campus,” Jeanes said.