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McPherson College Landmark Sign Nearly Complete

The first project in a series of several that will sweep across the McPherson College campus over the next several years is nearing completion. The landmark sign at the entrance of the college is in the final stages of construction and is expected to be complete later this fall.

The entry project is the beginning of a new master plan that will be developed over the next five years to address student service areas. A feasibility study will begin later this fall to discuss future projects such as a student center, which will be part of the next fundraising campaign.

The need for a new master plan was apparent last fall when campus housing was filled to capacity. While it was a good sign for the health the college, it clearly indicated that the college needed to consider how to grow and develop the college’s physical space, according to McPherson College President Michael Schneider.

“We spent time last year thinking about how to plan our future differently,” President Schneider said. “We decided that strategic planning was the work of our community rather than just a committee.”

The college focused on growth during work on its strategic plan. The plan called Community by Design, is a new approach to planning that puts the entire campus community at the heart of the process taking aim at some of higher education’s largest challenges. Over the next five years the plan will focus on planning and building facilities to support growth, as well as developing and enhancing academic programs modeled after recent successes, designing the McPherson College community, and creating a plan to build a $1 billion endowment.

During the strategic planning process, the number one facility need that topped the campus priority list was a campus entry. Work on the project began last year after receiving a generous gift from the Don Peters’ family. Peters is the son of the seventh president of McPherson College, Dr. W.W. Peters, who oversaw the college through the war years of 1941 to 1950.

The idea behind the entry was to clearly identify the campus in a way that reflects the quality of the college, according to President Schneider. “Not only does this create an impressive entrance to the college, but it also serves as a footprint for our future plans for campus facilities,” he said.

While the college is planning for the future, several capital improvements have been taking place over the past two years. Improvements to Gordon Street were completed over the summer and include complete reconstruction of the street with new curbs, gutters, drain boxes, concrete surface and widened street. Campus safety upgrades with a keyless entry system in residence halls, the sports center, and other buildings across campus were also made. Less obvious, but still important improvements were made such as the completion of a $7.4 million energy improvement project that replaced older steam heat boilers and will save the college at least $90,000 each year in utility costs. Improvements have also been made to sports facilities including the football stadium and construction of the baseball/softball complex.