Posted by Philip Poole on 2005-09-16

Samford University's board of trustees approved a contract for construction of a new multipurpose center during the board's annual fall meeting Sept. 16 in Birmingham.

Cost of the 132,000-square-foot facility, to include a multipurpose arena, athletics facilities and a fitness/wellness center, is estimated at $32 million. Stanmar, Inc., of Sudburry, Mass., specialists in such facilities, is the design/build firm responsible for the project.

Trustees also approved construction of a 400-500 space parking deck adjacent to the Wright Fine Arts Center. Construction will be fast-tracked as soon as plans can be developed.

A gift from Christian Mission Concerns of Memphis, Tenn., part of the Piper family charitable interests, will be used to purchase property in Marion, Ala., for a mission-service center. Samford students and employees are involved in several ongoing projects in Perry and surrounding counties, and the center will provide a base of operations for those projects. The Pipers previously provided funding for Samford's Children's Learning Center.

Further approvals were granted for construction of additional undergraduate residence spaces at a site yet-to-be-determined. It is hoped that units might be ready for occupancy as early as fall 2006.

The board also authorized the University administration to explore short-term housing options for students while additional on campus housing is constructed. The University will explore leasing apartment/hotel/motel facilities near campus as an undergraduate residence complex, with possible ultimate use as graduate housing.

Trustees also adopted an updated statement on identity, mission, core values and vision. The board chose to add the Baptist Faith and Message statement of 1963, without amendment, to the identity section to further anchor Samford as a religiously-based institution, according to trustee Vic Nichol of Birmingham, who chaired the ad hoc trustee committee to review the foundational statements. The review is part of the University's accreditation self-study and 10-year review by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and included input from a University-wide process.

Trustees authorized the president to "respond as needed" to students who have enrolled at Samford because of displacement from Hurricane Katrina. Trustees learned that more than 250 students and employees already have volunteered to serve in areas affected by the hurricane during the University's fall break in October.

In other action, trustees received the annual report of external financial auditors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Corts reported that the University has its highest enrollment in 10 years, including the second highest freshman class from the second highest number of applications in history.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.