by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews)–Truett-McConnell College’s board of trustees voted unanimously March 7 to endorse a capital building campaign for a new student recreation center.
On May 1, the college kicks off the 14-month campaign for the $13 million, 69,000 sq. ft. facility.
“God is raising up a new generation of believers who are sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ, and they are coming by the hundreds to Truett-McConnell in such a way that our facilities can no longer hold all of them,” said Dr. Emir Caner, president.
“Once home to a few hundred students, our college now enrolls more than 1,600 students residentially and online,” he said. “It is both incumbent and necessary that we radically transform the campus to give us the ability to radically transform as many lives for Christ as God would send to us.”
“The George Blaurock Student Recreation Center will stand on more than a concrete foundation. It will reflect the rich heritage and staunch commitment of the Anabaptist movement and one of its evangelists,” Caner noted.
“The center’s namesake is none other than the very man who helped begin the modern missionary movement and who, through martyrdom, gave his life for the faith,” Caner added.
“Students already have dubbed the center ‘The Rock,’ and it will be an asset for recruitment, a ministry to our students, and will accommodate our growing athletic program that we hope will include football and women’s lacrosse in the not-too-distant future,” Caner said.
The “Rock” will feature an 8-lane, accessible swimming pool, two racquetball courts, three basketball courts and a restaurant. An elevated running track will offer indoor exercise. Training equipment includes ellipticals, treadmills and free weights.
“We can’t keep the new center all to ourselves,” said Gary Jarnagin, director of financial development for the college. “So, we plan to offer the rec center’s use to the public on a membership basis.”
“Once the funds are in hand, we will begin digging for the ‘Rock’ by fall 2015, with an estimated 18-month build-out for completion,” Jarnagin said.
Dr. J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, told TMNews: “Being a healthy communicator of Gospel truth begins with a commitment to wholeness. That’s what I love about Truett-McConnell, forthright commitment to radical transformation of the body, mind and spirit. The new student recreation center will reflect the vibrant environment of Truett-McConnell College, a Georgia Baptist College, that is devoted to the health of every student, every professor and every administrator.”
Clarifying a previous decision to build a new chapel on the campus, Jarnagin said those plans are still viable. “The remodeling of our current athletic complex for chapel services, the planned addition of football and lacrosse, as well as our growing student enrollment brought us to conclude that the student recreation center was our most exigent need,” he said.
Jarnagin said the campaign launch “will be an exciting time for us. May 1 coincides with the National Day of Prayer, and Dr. Caner will be speaking at the Civic Center in Gainesville. Our annual TMC Spring Fling will be underway, with many outdoor student activities. And we will welcome WDUN to the campus for a live, remote broadcast featuring interviews and more.”
Chairman of the trustees, Dr. Bob Jolly, told TMNews, “As a pastor in North Georgia, I have witnessed first-hand the blessing Truett McConnell College is to the local church. Though nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, the college is not isolated. It is an integral part of the local community and the region — a city set on a hill whose light cannot be hidden. Truett-McConnell therefore is aggressively seeking to brighten the community with a new, state-of-the-art, student recreation center that will reveal the light of the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of all who call on his name.”