Construction is ongoing this summer and will be present when students return to the William Woods University campus this fall. While these capital improvements are a little more than a year from completion, the ongoing work is a sign of something finished.
WWU has completed its Imagine Campaign - an initiative that brought in $10.8 million, $600,000 more than the original goal, donated by alumni, employees, donors and friends of the local university in addition to grants.
Sorority Circle is the largest project funded through the Imagine Campaign, according to a press release from the school. When Sorority Circle opens for the fall semester 2015, it will provide 136 beds. In addition to meeting housing demands, the complex will also provide a comfortable, safe and modern living environment for WWU students, the press release stated.
Dan Diedriech, vice president of university advancement, said upperclassmen will get first dibs on the new digs north of the McNutt Campus Center. It will provide housing for Greek and independent students and include technological and structural improvements compared to housing currently offered on campus, according to the press release.
A big piece of Sorority Circle was a $1 million grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation. To qualify for the grant, WWU had to raise more than $900,000 from private funds during the last 12 months of the campaign.
"The Mabee Foundation invests in us because they believe in us ... in what are doing every day to provide lifelong learning opportunities for our students," Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president, stated in the press release.
The Imagine Campaign is comprised three objectives: the construction of Sorority Circle, an endowment to support the Center for Ethics and Global Studies, and the renovation of the Tom and Claudine O'Connor Alumni and Visitors' Center.
"Our faculty and staff so strongly believe in these objectives that 91 percent contributed to the campaign," Barnett stated in the release.
At the start of the campaign, William Woods received a lead gift of $2.5 million from the Brockman Lambert Foundation, representing the largest foundation gift ever received by the university. In addition, an anonymous individual donor provided a leadership gift of $2 million.
More recently, former WWU board member and Central Trust Bank board Chairman Sam Cook made a significant donation in support of the university's Imagine Campaign, and the amphitheater to be built behind Sorority Circle will bear his name.
"The Imagine Campaign has built upon the William Woods mission to distinguish itself as a student-centered institution and fulfill its vision to be recognized as a progressive and growing leader in higher education," Barnett stated in the release.
According to Mike Dillon, director of the WWU Physical Plant, construction is on schedule.
"Much of the concrete work on Building "A' has been completed," Dillon stated in the release. "In the last week of June, we'll be putting up the walls on Building "A' and that's when the building will really begin to take shape."
Diedriech also touted amphitheater that will be built the Sorority Circle complex.
"It's going to get a lot of mileage," Diedriech told the Fulton Sun in an interview.
He expects the fine arts and theater departments to utilize the venue in addition to the WWU choir and community groups not affiliated with the college.
"It'll serve quite few hundred people," Diedriech said of the amphitheater's capacity.
Barnett said the complex will add to the appeal of WWU.
"Construction of this complex will help William Woods improve and preserve its attractive and inviting residential campus," Barnett stated in the release. "This complex also will ensure WWU's ability to remain competitive among its peers and continue to attract and retain quality students."
According to Barnett, by housing all four sororities together in one village, the residential complex will help to strengthen the university's Greek community. The individuality of each sorority will be maintained through separate entries and individual common areas for studying, socializing and conducting meetings.