As area building projects have ground to a halt over the last few years, Centre College has only seemed to pick up the pace of property acquisition and new development.
Most recently, the college purchased the Hope Street properties long occupied by Boyle County Stockyards, which has already been razed, and Farmers Tobacco Warehouse Number 1, still in the demolition process.
Centre Communications Director Michael Strysick said obtaining those properties was more a result of timing and availability than strategic planning, but indicated they will likely be used for additional athletic fields. Noting the myriad summer sports camps and local attendance of college athletic events, Strysick said the community should continue to benefit from the property.
"Those are pieces of property that played an important role in the economic vitality and history of Danville,” Strysick said. “This will help athletics at the college and we want to make sure there are ways it remains available to the community at large.”
The college completed the LEAD GOLD certified Pearl Hall dormitories on Main Street in 2008 and work has already begun on a residential village to be located on Beatty Avenue in the space now used as a parking lot for the Jones Visual Arts Center.
The $15 million residential commons will house about 125 students. Strysick said the project, funded by a gift from the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, should be complete when students return in August 2012.
The increased number of beds is part of efforts to accommodate a growing student population and ensuring almost all of those students will live on campus. Strysick said 97-98 percent of students currently live in college housing, numbers the college wants to maintain.
“We were really successful last year in recruiting new students and have been really successful again this year, along with strong retention rates,” Strysick said. “We want to continue with modest enrollment growth over the next few years as we move closer to 1,300 students.”
While planning for more student beds in the central portion of the campus, Strysick said parking spaces are being moved more toward the periphery. New lots to take up slack for those spaces lost from construction will be moved to areas to the south and west, including what had been the field hockey field along Beatty Ave.