SILOAM SPRINGS -- A $3 million challenge grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation will help John Brown University renovate its women's dormitory.
Cesia Rodriguez (from left), Abigail Vining, Emma Pitts and Emiley Horton, all freshman at John Brown University, display their celebratory cupcakes and balloons Thursday following the announcement of a $3 million donation to John Brown University in Siloam Springs.
Students cheered Thursday each time the university's president, Chip Pollard, described upgrades such as an improved climate system, sound-resistant room renovations and new furnishings.
Pollard discussed the makeover for the 247-bed Mayfield Residence Hall during the private Christian school's regular chapel service, with the news a surprise to students who clutched celebratory balloons after the service ended.
"I'm excited for the study room and the common areas to be renovated because I feel like they're not as utilized as they could be, just because they're more run-down," said Tori Hodge, a junior in her third year of living in Mayfield.
For each dollar raised by John Brown University up to $3 million, the Windgate Foundation will contribute a matching dollar for the $6 million project. Officials expect the project to begin next spring and be finished by the summer of 2018.
Mayfield is one of four campus dormitories, with John Brown University also having apartment and town-home living options for students. The red-brick building first opened in 1964, with an addition done in the late 1970s. Pollard told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that all other campus housing has either been built or constructed within the past 15 years.
"This has been a really needed project," Pollard said, adding that an increase in enrollment at John Brown University has also led to urgency for the renovations. The school had 2,779 students as of last year, including 1,352 undergraduates, according to its website.
Pollard gave thanks to the Windgate Charitable Foundation, which is also based in Siloam Springs and led by John Brown III, a former president of the university.
The foundation has given money to several other higher education projects, including a $20.3 million grant to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for a new visual arts building. The John Brown campus is home to two Windgate Visual Arts buildings, and Pollard said the foundation also supports student scholarships.
The gift comes as John Brown seeks to raise $125 million in its Campaign for the Next Century fundraising drive. So far, the university has raised over $78 million in gifts and pledges towards its goal.
Metro on 04/29/2016
Print Headline: John Brown to fund dorm revamp with $3M Windgate challenge grant