Dining services partner Sodexo invests in project; Extensive campus growth contributes to University’s significant economic impact in Middle Tennessee
This afternoon Belmont University broke ground on a new academic and dining services complex that is anticipated to cost $55 million, bringing the University’s total investment in construction projects since 2003 to a staggering $442 million. In addition, campus dining services provider Sodexo announced today that the company is investing in the construction as part of their ongoing partnership with Belmont University.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “Like all of our projects, this new complex is being designed to add to the quality of life and the improvement of learning for the entire Belmont community, especially our students. I’m proud that these additions to our physical campus also impact our local economy and culture, creating thousands of jobs right here in Nashville and further cementing our city’s reputation as the Athens of the South.”
The new dining services complex will be one part of a four-story 116,000-square-foot building, and it will provide a seating capacity that is 2.5 times larger than the current campus cafeteria. Beyond supporting the construction costs, Sodexo also announced today that it would provide 20 full meal plans at no cost to support the University’s “Bridges to Belmont” program that was officially launched at an event this morning.
In discussing Sodexo’s 20-years as Belmont’s dining services provider, Sodexo Senior Vice President Fred Formichella said, “From day one we’ve been considered a partner, not a vendor like what sometimes occurs at other campuses. [Belmont’s] vision and mission talk about excellence, and you really work to be the best at what you do. We at Sodexo get that, and we look forward to being your partner for many years to come.”
Belmont Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Susan West added, “Focus groups were conducted with students, faculty and staff to get their ideas about dining options and the overall aesthetics for this new facility. That information was compiled and shared with the parties responsible for the building’s design. I am proud to report that, due to those good efforts, our campus community will benefit greatly from improved dining services in this facility. Anyone with additional suggestions or input is welcome to contact me as this project begins to take shape.”
Classrooms and faculty/staff offices will comprise approximately 70 percent of the building. Several academic programs—including music business and media studies—have been invited to submit proposals for how occupying the new space could creatively enhance their efforts or provide opportunities for greater innovation within their units.
The new facility will also include the construction of a 1,000 space underground parking garage. With this addition, Belmont will have added a grand total of more than 4,800 new parking spaces to campus since 2003. Site preparation has begun, and blasting for the garage is scheduled to begin April 1. The complex, which is aiming for LEED certification, is expected to open for the fall semester of 2015.
In addition to this project, Belmont continues to invest in the physical campus to enhance the resources the institution can offer its growing student body. The University reached a record-breaking enrollment of 6,647 students last fall, more than double the counts from a mere decade ago.
Bridges to Belmont program immerses local students in summer program to foster academic success
Thanks to a new full scholarship program from Belmont University, 25 Metro Nashville high school seniors will receive the opportunity to attend college next year. The Bridges to Belmont program is designed to enroll high potential students from Metro Nashville Public Schools who may not have previously been able to consider Belmont as an option.
Belmont University President Bob Fisher said, “We believe every young person has potential for great success with the biggest challenge often being simply the absence of opportunity. This is Belmont’s attempt to step up and provide that opportunity to high potential students here in Nashville. Of all the projects we’ve undertaken in the past decade, I can’t think of any that make me more proud to be at Belmont.”
In addition to the full scholarships, the Bridges to Belmont program will focus on creating a learning and service environment to empower students’ personal passion to meet the needs of the world. Bridge students will live and work on campus the summer prior to enrollment while attending an intensive institute that will allow them to take full advantage of the opportunities the college environment will offer. Programming will focus on quantitative reasoning, writing, public speaking skills and research methods as well as on creating a community of learners. The summer immersion program also will include community service and social activities for participants.
The pilot Bridges to Belmont program is open to students from Maplewood and Stratford High Schools for the 2013-2014 academic year and eventually could expand to include other Metro Nashville Public Schools. The charter Bridge class members will be nominated by principals at each high school. Preferred candidates for the 25 available slots will be taking a college prep curriculum and feature strong recommendations regarding academic motivation and personal character. (Click here to view video highlights of Tuesday’s press conference.)
“The Bridges to Belmont program will be life-changing for the students selected,” said Metro Schools’ Director Dr. Jesse Register. “The opportunity to attend Belmont tuition-free, as well as participate in the summer transition program, is a tremendous example of how the community can and does support our schools and our students. Belmont is a great partner for Metro Schools, and today’s announcement is another example of how this partnership is bringing lasting benefits to individual students and our community. I want to thank President Fisher and everyone who has worked to make this program a reality.”
In appreciation of their impact through the years, today Belmont University celebrated the naming of its newest residence hall in honor of the Horrell family. Designed by EOA Architects with construction by R.C. Mathews, the suite-style residence hall offers 190 residential spaces for Belmont students and sits adjacent to Dickens Hall, another new residence structure that opened in August. The need for additional residence space comes as a result of Belmont’s significant enrollment expansion from 2,976 students in 2000 to more than 6,600 last fall.
The relationship between the Horrell family and Belmont began in 1963 when then President Herbert Gabhart requested advice and assistance from Henry Horrell, founder of Nashville’s Horrell Company, which recently celebrated 57 years in commercial real estate.
Henry Horrell served on the Belmont Board of Trustees for 13 years and chaired the Board from 1970-77. In addition, Belmont’s signature Rose Garden was inspired and funded by Henry’s wife, Kathleen. Two of Henry and Kathleen’s sons graduated from Belmont with Steve now serving on the Board of Trustees.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “The Horrells have demonstrated their commitment to Belmont in countless ways through a friendship that has lasted more than 50 years. In naming this new residence hall in their honor, we will remind future generations of their incredible kindness and generous spirit as well as the sustaining contributions they have made to Belmont University.”
Current members Holleman, Wright also re-appointed to three-year terms
Belmont University announced today the selection of six members to its Board of Trustees consisting of two re-appointments and the election of four new members. Each of the individuals listed below will begin a new, three-year term at the University’s Jan. 17 board meeting.
John Ferguson is the chairman of the board for Corrections Corporation of America and past commissioner of finance and administration for the State of Tennessee. A member of First Presbyterian Church, Ferguson also serves on boards for The Boy Scouts, Nashville Public Education Foundation and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
A Belmont Trustee since 2003, Jim Holleman, retired President of Conroy, Marable & Holleman Realtors, was re-elected to a new term. The former Leadership Clarksville Vice President, Holleman has also served as Heritage Bank Chairman, Clarksville Rotary past President and Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce past President. He is a member of First Baptist Church, Clarksville.
Alumnus Klay Kelley earned both a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from Belmont and served as an alumni regent on the Board of Trustees from 2009-2012. Employed by Western Spirits, he also serves as chairman of Alpha Tau Omega Board of Trust and as a member of Belmont Young Alumni Council and the Nashville American Marketing Association. Kelley is a member of Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood.
Dove and Grammy Award winning artist Michael W. Smith is a Christian author, worship leader, musician and songwriter who has sold more than 15 million albums. The founder of Rocketown, a nonprofit youth outreach facility in downtown Nashville, Smith is also active in Billy Graham Crusades and The Samaritan’s Purse. He is a member of New River Fellowship.
Alumnus Randy Smith, a former Belmont Trustee from 1982-1987, is an entertainment industry attorney. He serves on the First Tennessee Bank Board of Advisors and the Belmont College of Law Development Committee and is a member of First Baptist Church, Nashville.
A Belmont Trustee first elected in 1994, alumnus Mark Wright is president of Show Dog-Universal Music. Wright, a member of First Presbyterian Church, serves of the boards of the YMCA Foundation, Salvation Army, Country Music Association and City of Hope.
Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher announced today that longtime employee Dr. Paula Gill has been promoted to Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness. In this role, Gill is responsible for evaluating the university’s progress toward its performance objectives and for seeking ways to improve services and processes that provide value for students. In addition, she will serve as a member of the President’s senior leadership cabinet, providing feedback and consultation on University decisions and strategic planning.
“As Belmont University continues its phenomenal growth trend, the need for assistance at the highest level of leadership has become apparent,” Fisher said. “We want to provide guidance to help our campus be more effective and manage resources for the good of our students. There’s simply no better person for this role than Dr. Gill. Her expertise and perspective are matched only by her great love for, and dedication to, the Belmont community.”
Gill added, “I am incredibly honored by this appointment, not only for what it represents to me personally and professionally but also for what it proves about this University’s commitment to guiding students to their full potential in order to lead lives of meaning and purpose. My professional success is the result of Belmont administrators, faculty and staff who shared their wisdom and invested their time in me during my academic and professional journey. My gratitude for this promotion is exceeded only by my excitement to serve this dynamic institution and its students in new ways in the future.”