Gift of $8 Million

By Lucas Roebuck '97 & Scarlett Kerby '11
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Anonymous Gift Given to Build New Building

An anonymous $8 million gift will help JBU keep faith with the university’s legacy engineering and construction management programs by helping provide a critical new facility. The donation is the lead gift to finance an approximately 35,000-to- 40,000-square-foot facility to house John Brown University’s growing
engineering and construction management programs.

President Chip Pollard announced the $8 million gift at a special event Feb. 2. The total cost of the project, including an endowment fund to pay for building maintenance and operational costs, will be in the range of $10.5 to 11 million. Students will begin using the facility as early as the fall of 2011.

“The lead donors wish to remain anonymous, in part, because they believe these funds are available only by God’s grace and that God should receive the praise,” Dr. Pollard said. “This gift is one of the largest single gifts ever in the history of John Brown University, and we are deeply grateful.”

JBU’s engineering program is one of its largest, with over 90 majors and six faculty members. The construction management program has 55 students and three faculty members. The building will also house the new renewable energy program. Currently, the programs are spread out in three aging buildings. The new state-of-the-art facility, which is expected to take 18 months to design and build, will bring the programs under one roof.

“We’re proud of our engineering students and their successes,” said Dr. Larry Bland, head of the engineering department. “Our undergrads have found jobs at firms like Texas Instruments, T.D. Williamson, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.”

“Our construction management program is 70 years old this year, and the work of our students can be seen in communities around the world,” said Professor Jim Caldwell, construction management department chair. “From Nairobi, Kenya to Dallas, Texas, our alumni have gone on to manage projects valued in the billions.”

Although the new facility is still in the early design stage, current plans call for 20,000 to 25,000 square feet of classroom and office space with another 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of laboratory space, Dr. Pollard said. The program’s existing facilities only have 26,000 feet of usable space, none designed specifically for teaching engineering or construction management.

Tentatively, the new building will sit on the northwest area of campus, adjacent to the currently-under construction Berry Performing Arts Center, occupying a portion of the existing Broadhurst Village. Broadhurst Village is being phased out over the next several years.

Hastings & Chivetta Architects will be designing the building; Nabholz Construction will serve as the project builder.

-Lucas Roebuck is the editor of the Brown Bulletin

-Scarlett Kerby is a JBU student who is graduating May '11