Brenau University’s Board of Trustees approved a record $62.5 million spending plan that provides for $8 million in new construction for undergraduate residence houses, a human anatomy laboratory and a field house at a new athletics park.
The board’s action preceded the announcement here March 29 during the Brenau 135th anniversary celebration Gala that the university has completed an $18.2 million first “silent” phase of a long-term capital campaign and now has launched the $18.5 million second “public” phase that in part addresses the new spending that the trustees approved.
Brenau President Ed Schrader said the university exceeded its fund-raising goals for Phase I of the campaign by more than $500,000.
That action means the university will continue to raise funds through donations to pay for improvements. In the meantime, it will finance the project through bonds so construction can begin immediately.
“That is a big step to this organization,” Brenau Trustees Chairman Pete Miller told his colleagues during the board meeting at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta March 28. “Can we manage that? Yes, we can.”
The centerpiece of the first phase included the redevelopment of the city of Gainesville-owned entertainment and meeting venue into the Brenau University Downtown Center, the home of a new doctor of physical therapy program as well as The Manhattan Gallery of modern art. That first phase also included improvements in the university’s endowment and improvements to its well-respected nursing program’s faculty and facilities.
Schrader announced Saturday that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has approved Brenau’s offering of a doctorate in physical therapy. That leaves only approval by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education before Brenau can begin recruiting and enrolling candidates for the program.
In addition to approving the $8 million in bonds for the new construction, which will start right away, the board’s action included approval of a $54.52 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 – the first time Brenau’s budget has exceeded $50 million.
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