01/29/13 — Mount Olive College drive includes $20 million for campus renovations

View Archive

Mount Olive College drive includes $20 million for campus renovations

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on January 29, 2013 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College unveiled a $20 million capital campaign aimed at improving its residence halls, constructing a downtown presence in Mount Olive and expanding its athletic program during a gala event last Thursday night.

Since the college started raising money in December 2010, the campaign has privately come up with $15.8 million of its goal.

"The funds we raise will result in modernization and beautification for our entire campus. It will add space to accommodate our increasing enrollment. And, it will transform our campus to reflect the high quality of education we offer our students," college President Philip P. Kerstetter said.

That money will help fund six different projects.

The campaign hopes to raise $8 million to enhance the college's four residential halls and the Henderson Building. These buildings, built in the 1960s, will be updated with infrastructure improvements and expanded classrooms.

The school plans to use $3 million to add classrooms and offices to the back of Rodgers Chapel to accommodate an expanding religious studies program.

And MOC expects to use another $3 million to create a new track stadium with locker rooms, a fitness training room and offices. Mount Olive and the surrounding communities will also be able to use the eight-lane track for general use and events.

The college will use $1 million to add flower beds, to expand walkways and to install lighting across the campus.

To compensate for government and grant funding shortfalls, the college will beef up the annual fund with $2 million from the campaign. The college will be able to use this fund to provide scholarships.

Finally, $3 million will be used to help create a new cultural arts center located somewhere in downtown Mount Olive. Exact placement of the center will be announced at a later date.

The center will have drawing studios, photography labs and well-equipped areas for printmaking, ceramics and sculpting. Art-minded community members will also be able to use two exhibit spaces.

"I think that the school is reaching out to the town. It will have a presence that's not isolated on campus," said Bob Murray, the chairman of the art department.

"It's a step in the right direction for the town to become a college town," Murray said.

The campaign still needs to raise 21 percent of its goal and is looking for any interested donors.

Dr. John Blackwell, vice president for institutional advancement, said there will be many naming opportunities in the form of buildings, offices and classrooms.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the college. If you to talk to the alumnus, you will hear about the memories that college has given us. It holds a special place in our hearts," alumni association president Tom Patterson said.

"It excites me to support the college and give back," he said.

During the event, former Gov. Jim Hunt acted as keynote speaker. Hunt was an advocate of education during the four terms he served as governor and was raised as a Free Will Baptist, the denomination that created and supports the school.

"Sixty years after this college started ... It is clear to me that you are not and this college is not resting on its laurels," Hunt said.

"This campaign announced tonight is the rebuilding of Mount Olive College. If you believe and care, if you work hard and give as I believe God will touch you to give, nothing will stop you and nothing will stop Mount Olive College," he said.