An addition to Sollenberger Sports Center will be among the projects coming to Messiah College in the near future.

An addition to Sollenberger Sports Center will be among the projects coming to Messiah College in the near future.

By Joel Hoover
Editor-in-Chief

Following the Messiah College Board of Trustees’ annual winter meeting from Feb. 1-3, President Kim Phipps announced today that the college has passed a resolution to borrow $25 million to fund three building projects related to Messiah. The projects include bringing natural gas to Messiah and construction of a central heat and power plant (CHPP), a lease and renovations of off-campus space for therapy graduate programs, and construction of a new fitness center and gymnasium next to the Sollenberger Sports Center with a renovation for Hitchcock Arena.

The three projects will begin at various times both this year and in 2016, with the first two planned to be completed by July 2016 and the third estimated to be finished in late 2017.

“We are grateful for the board’s confidence and flexibility,” President Phipps said in a campus-wide email sent Friday morning. “President’s Cabinet will diligently work not to borrow more than $25 million to construct and equip these strategic projects.”

The opportunity to borrow was made possible by the indication from vice president for finance and institutional operation David Walker that at the conclusion of Fiscal Year (FY) 17, the college have paid off all of its 2005 bonds.

Messiah will begin the CHPP project in May by constructing a 2,500 square-foot mechanical building behind the Sollenberger Sports Center. The electricity generated will power the Eisenhower Campus Center and give full power for the Center if a power outage occurs. The college will also work with UGI to create natural gas connections on campus to be used beginning in the spring of 2016.

Borrowing for this project is planned to not exceed $7.5 million, with the final product generating annual utilities savings of over $800,000. Such savings will be used over time to pay for the debt services from the borrowed $25 million for all three projects.

A $2.5 million renovation of a building owned by Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates in Mechanicsburg will allow for the occupational therapy and physical therapy graduate programs to be located there beginning in July 2016. Another $1 million will be used for purchasing equipment necessary for the labs.

This project is tentatively slated to begin in January 2016, with total cost not to exceed $3.5 million.

The largest of the three projects will combine borrowing and donated funds to raise $20 million for construction of a new fitness center and gymnasium adjacent to Sollenberger Sports Center and renovation of Hitchcock Arena. $14 million of the funds will be borrowed, while $6 million will be fundraised; $2.28 million of the latter portion has already been raised for the project.

“These new facilities are essential for student fitness and wellness, enhanced quality of our allied health undergraduate program offerings and successful student recruitment in the midst of a highly competitive external environment,” Phipps added.

The addition to Sollenberger will be two levels. A 14,544 square-foot fitness center, a fitness room, office suite and mezzanine seating for Fredericksen Natatorium will be built on the top level. The lower portion will have 7,640 square feet of locker rooms for athletic teams, an increase to the wrestling room by over 1,500 square feet, and have a 12,305 square-foot gymnasium with two courts for practices, rec sports, and recreation.

Building the new gym will allow for Hitchcock Arena to be renovated into a new home arena for Messiah athletics. The floor will be replaced, and new bleachers, a scoreboard, and sound system will all be installed.

Though in the design phase currently, this project is expected to begin in summer 2016, with construction estimated for 16 months.

The Division of Operations have plans to create a website this spring to offer more details on the three projects, including plans and renderings of the projects and tracking progress online.

Other Campus Update announcements

  • FY16 budget parameters were approved, with a balanced budget projected. Administration hopes to manage it in such a way that a 1-1.5 percent surplus ($1 million) of operating revenue will be produced.
  • Several new graduate program updates were given. Kelly Hudock, DNP, has been hired as coordinator of the recently approved Doctor of Nursing Practice program and will step into her new role beginning in either late spring or early summer of this year. Additionally, the search for a director of the master’s in occupational therapy program is currently ongoing, with plans to make the hire this spring. Finally, a dietetic internship has been added to the graduate program offerings. The internship will be a full-time, 35-week experience combining online learning with over 1,200 hours practice hours. Emphasis will be on providing nutrition for individuals living in poverty.
  • Nearly $1.1 million of the Messiah Annual Fund support has been reached, and over $5.3 million overall has been given to the college this fiscal year as of Jan. 31. These represent 81 and 88 percent of the June 30 target goals set by the college.
  • Full funding for the $5.5-million addition to Lottie Nelson Dining Hall has been reached. The college expects to break ground on the addition in May.
  • Construction of phase one of the new lacrosse field has been completed, with both teams beginning interscholastic play on the field on Feb. 21. Fundraising for the near-$450,000 second phase to add lighting to the field is currently underway, with $165,000 in commitments already made. Messiah hopes to have all gift and pledge commitments for this phase completed by late this summer.

2 Responses to “President’s Campus Update announces plans for three Messiah building projects” Subscribe

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  1. Details announced for natural gas installation at Messiah | The Swinging Bridge - March 10, 2015

    […] part of a campus update given about a month ago, Messiah president Kim Phipps had announced that the college would be bringing natural gas to […]

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