BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University broke ground Dec. 18 on a project to expand and renovate the Bolivar campus’ Gene Taylor National Free Enterprise Center, which houses the Robert W. Plaster College of Business and Computer Science and the department of history and political science.
“The first term in our mission statement is ‘Christ-centered;’ we want everything here to be Christ-centered,” said SBU President C. Pat Taylor. “We pray a blessing on the new space and the renovated space, that it will truly always be Christ-centered.
The project is expected to cost about $2.7 million and is necessitated by steady enrollment growth in business, accounting and computer science, and the reinstatement of the master of business administration program.
The project was made possible in part by a seven-figure gift from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation in Lebanon, Mo. The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., also issued a challenge grant supplying the remaining $500,000 of the total project costs when gifts and pledges were secured totaling $2.2 million.
Several other corporations, foundations and individuals also gave significantly to the project, he said.
Named for donors Jill and the late Tom McLoud, a more than 11,000-square-foot addition to the existing building will house new classrooms, a student lounge, study areas, team presentation rooms, seminar rooms and computer labs for accounting and computer science.
Renovations to the existing facility will include remodeling Woody Auditorium and the current first-floor office suite.
“We in the College of Business and Computer Science are looking forward to what this renovation is going to provide us,” said Troy Bethards, dean of the Robert W. Plaster College of Business and Computer Science. “We are excited about the next year, but certainly what happens beyond the next year.”