Changes Under Way At Jacksonville College
By KELLY GOOCH
Jacksonville College is making some big changes on campus as it prepares for more students and two new sports this fall.
The college recently renovated the C.R. Meadows Building and the historic Newburn-Rawlinson house on Kickapoo Street and is now progressing with additional renovations and improvements.
That includes refurbishing four homes near campus to fulfill the need for more housing. Two houses were donated to the college, and two others were purchased.
"The Master's builders of the Baptist Missionary Association and the Church Builders of the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas have both indicated they are both going to help us in the renovation and remodeling of our many summer projects," President Dr. Mike Smith said in a news release. "In time for the fall 2012 semester, the college should have 40 to 50 more spaces for our campus students."
Business Officer David Pittman said the institution is fixing up the residential housing to use until it can construct a new residential facility, which it hopes to have completed by fall 2013. The facility is projected to have at least 50 beds.
"What we're trying to do is to increase the number of beds we have available for incoming students and stay within our budget so we can proceed with the new dorm," Pittman said.
Meanwhile, though, Lynn Nabi, athletic director and women's basketball coach, said the tennis and golf teams already are shaping up.
He said both teams are full, and the college has more than enough athletes to compete with. Ten women and eight men are in the tennis program while seven men and seven women make up the golf teams.
"These families are excited. The growth has been tremendous. We knew there was a need, but we didn't know it would grow so fast," he said, adding that Jacksonville College went from 40 athletes to 70.
"It's a great thing. The growth is needed for Jacksonville College. It really was good timing for it all. The thing I'm most impressed with is the families who come to Jacksonville College and see us. We've never had to recruit tennis and golf players. Families are so appreciative."
The changes are part of Smith's vision for the college, which is three-fold. One part of that vision involves making room for growth and improvements, such as continuing to make technological updates across campus.
Smith has said a strategic planning committee, made up of faculty, staff and trustees, developed a plan to make improvements. The first part of the plan was renovations to the Meadows Building, and the next phase entailed moving offices into the Newburn-Rawlinson House, which has served as a boarding house, the Jacksonville College president's home, a day care, a venue for weddings and conferences and a hospital during the past century.
Smith has said he also wants the college to build a dorm so growth can occur and hopes the college gets up to about 700 students. As of fall 2011, the college had 400 to 500 students.