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Completed expansion

Shovels to Scissors:
TMC celebrates expansion project completion
By Scott Sienkiewicz

53 lgThe Miller Building is the oldest on campus. Its new wing houses cutting-edge physics and chemistry labs.

dorm outsideThe new residence hall provides all the comforts of home, as well as a state-of-the-art security system.

dining insideNow twice its original size, TMC’s dining hall provides delicious fare for students, faculty, staff, and the public.

gym floorSporting a new suspended floor, TMC's gym is ready for the upcoming basketball season.

CLEVELAND, Ga. – On Dec. 3 of last year, Truett-McConnell College President Emir Caner and other school officials broke ground on an $8 million expansion and new construction project.

Trading his ground-breaking shovel for a pair of scissors, Caner and TMC Trustee Chairman Mike Dorough cut the ceremonial ribbon Oct. 27, marking the official completion of the project -- the largest in school history.

The project included a new dormitory, renovation and expansion to the school's dining hall, and a new wing on an administrative/educational building.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony coincided with a same-day ceremony wherein Truett-McConnell's faculty signed the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

"Brick and mortar will crumble one day, but what is inside of here is most important," said Caner, looking to the newly remolded Miller Building, an administrative/educational facility. "You can see the beauty of it, but what I hope you see most of all would be students who walk out of here fully equipped to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Focus Design Builders of Wake Forest, N.C., worked diligently to complete the multi-building project months ahead of schedule and before the fall semester began in August -- a difficult task according to Focus' Paul Eitel, who said everything was "stacked against us: from lead times for materials to rock, rain, snow, and deadlines of students coming back to campus."

The project could not have been completed this quickly and injury-free "without the Lord being fully involved, and fully pushing the entire project forward," said Eitel. "The Lord's hand was fully here in all three projects."

The yet-to-be-named residence hall added 173 beds, raising residential student capacity to 541. Currently, TMC has 456 resident students, reflecting the largest freshman class in school history.

The expansion included a substantial addition to the dinning hall, doubling its size. The refurbished eatery -- operated by Chartwells Dining Services -- includes additional seating, serving stations, and a lounge.

The new wing on the administrative/educational Miller Building houses Truett-McConnell's World Missions Center and the newly founded Creation Research Center. The three-story, state-of-the-art addition houses six new classrooms, including a 106-seat auditorium. The addition provides unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround TMC.

The building houses Outtakes Café -- also operated by Chartwells -- which serves Starbucks' coffee, sandwiches and other refreshments.

During the project, a series of powerful thunderstorms rolled through Cleveland, Ga., slowing construction and sparking a fire in Truett-McConnell's historic gymnasium. The fire destroyed bleachers and the gym's electrical system, and the gym floor, which was already stripped for repainting. Related fire damage rendered the floor irreparable, so it was replaced with a modern, suspended floor.

In just 5 months Truett-McConnell completed the project. President Caner maintains that the building project was not so much about expansion, but about Truett-McConnell equipping students to share the Gospel, "This is not merely a school where anybody can come, but we also encourage discipleship and the fulfillment of the Great Commission. So many of our students will find themselves somewhere half-way across the world sharing Jesus Christ with people they've never met in places they've never been."

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Scott Sienkiewicz is a staff writer at Truett-McConnell College.

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