MCPHERSON, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been a good year for McPherson College, and it plans to pay it back to students. The school announced three major construction projects as well as funds to reduce student debt.
McPherson College announced the $3 million contribution to its Student Debt Project, which provides matching funds to students who are employed while attending school. The school claims that it has one of the lowest average graduating student debt ratios among four-year colleges and universities in Kansas.
The college says nearly 40% of its students participated in the Student Debt Project in the past school year, and nearly 60% of participants had less than $2,000 in debt at the end of the last semester.
The other part of Tuesday’s announcement is what the school calls a “campus of the future,” funded in part by a successful $55 million capital campaign.
McPherson College has released renderings of three construction projects: Campus Commons, the Boiler Room and the Holman Center for Athletics.
- Campus Commons — This will be the new “gateway” to campus. It will include a student welcome center, dining hall, cafe, store, administrative offices, career services and a state-of-the-art event venue. Additionally, a three-story atrium will host classic cars suspended from the ceiling. The display celebrates the college’s automotive restoration degree program.
- Boiler House – This building is a repurposing of the school’s existing utility building to create a “college hangout for the next generation”, featuring indoor-outdoor space, garden games, fire pits, a large outdoor screen and a scene.
- Homan Center for Athletics – This will be a modernized extension of the existing athletic facility.
A school spokesperson said renovations have already begun on the sports complex. The other timelines for the project are still being determined.
McPherson College says the buildings have one thing in common: they’re built around how students learn and live in the 21st century, giving them the resources and support to do their best.
In addition to buildings, nearly half of the $55 million in new funding will directly support on-campus educational initiatives, such as scholarships, health sciences, automotive restoration and other academic programs and growth areas.
“This is a truly momentous announcement for McPherson College, and no one deserves it more than our hard-working students, faculty and staff,” McPherson College President Michael Schneider said in a statement. Press. “We are changing the face of our campus in a way that puts the needs of our students first and prepares them for the future, thanks to the tremendous support we have received from across the country.
In May, Dr. Richard Lundquist, a California philanthropist, donated a 1972 Enzo Ferrari, worth more than $600,000, to the school’s auto restoration program.
Later in May, Lundquist and his wife Melanie donated $25 million to the college for the Building Community campaign. The donation complemented the campaign and helped attract other donors.
“When I first heard about McPherson College through my interest in classic cars, I was immediately inspired by the sincerity and work ethic of the students and the way they were empowered by the campus culture,” Lundquist said. “It felt right to make this special place our first major philanthropic investment outside of our home state and to shine more light on the magic that happens on the Plains.”
“I’m very proud that the most forward-thinking college town is in the middle of the country,” said McPherson Mayor Tom Brown. “I have a feeling this isn’t the last time McPherson College will be in the news. Great things are ahead for our college and our city.
McPherson College has over 800 students enrolled. The school offers more than 30 undergraduate programs.