by Max Brantley
A pledge of $1 million from trustee C.J. Duvall and a $10 million federal loan will help Philander Smith College build a student activities building on the 135-year-old campus. The college board approved the project today.
Duvall, a telecommunications executive and member of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board, has already given 60 percent of his pledge. “I’m hoping it would compel others to donate to this effort," he said in a campus release. "These students and this campus deserve our support.”
The first phase of construction includes a student union and dining facility. President Johnny Moore said he supported naming the new facility after Duvall.
(LITTLE ROCK, AR- May 3, 2013) —- The Philander Smith College Board of Trustees approved today constructing a new student activities building on the 135-year-old campus, and Trustee C.J. Duvall donated $1 million toward the project’s completion.
“I’ve already given close to 60 percent of the pledged amount and I’m fine with going public with this information,” said Duvall. “I’m hoping it would compel others to donate to this effort. These students and this campus deserve our support.”
There have been several other significant gifts from board members given towards the project which is expected to take a year to complete. Funding for the project has been secured with capital like Duvall’s, but also a U.S. Department of Education $10 million loan.
The site has been cleared for construction crews to break ground on the $8 million single-story Campus Center that as part of Phase I is to include a student union, a dining facility, a bistro and outdoor seating areas. Phase II of the project will include offices for the Department of Student Affairs staff and faculty, a bookstore and meeting rooms. The second phase of the construction will be determined at a later date. But today’s board approval gives a green light to breaking ground on a site that has been prepared since last fall.
The 27,000 square-foot building will be like other recently completed campus construction projects built with environmental-friendly materials — Suite A and B Residential Life Centers, which opened in 2010 and 2011.
“I’m delighted that the board approved this project,” said Dr. Johnny Moore, president of Philander Smith College. “Today’s board actions reflect the direction our campus is growing towards as I develop a foundation to recommend building with purpose. From reshaping our academics to updating our infrastructure and facilities our students deserve the best. As we generate more support for this project, Mr. Duvall has set the bar high for others to step
forward…I would support calling this new facility the C.J. Duvall Campus Center. His support for this institution is proven by his generosity. We thank him and all of our board members who believe in the future of Philander Smith College.”
Nabholz Construction Services is the general contractor over the project and Taggart Architects designed the building.