by Meagan Price and Norm Miller
A new road and sidewalk, and facilities for students pursuing a Nursing degree represent several upgrades planned for Truett-McConnell College.
Construction begins this summer on the narrow asphalt road adjacent to the new dorm. When finished, a sidewalk and water remediation system will accompany the widened, two-lane throughway.
A new concession stand and restroom facilities are planned for TMC's soccer field.
"These additions to the soccer field are growth indicators of our college and soccer programs," said David McDowell, head coach, women's soccer. "These upgrades bring practical improvements that will benefit players and spectators. Both the men's and women's soccer programs are strongly encouraged by these additions."
New furniture for the common areas in three residence halls -- Merritt, Otwell, and Sewell -- will welcome returning students next fall.
Returning students also will enjoy more than 50 high-speed, wireless Internet access points, each capable of servicing up to 75 clients. Some units already in service render up to 100 megabits per second upload/download speed. This represents a 100 percent increase or more in campus web access speed.
A new parking lot of 50 spaces will replace the relocated volleyball court adjacent to Otwell dorm.
Already underway, the biggest addition to Truett-McConnell's campus is the $280,000 Nursing facility. Situated on the ground floor beneath the dining hall, the 3,800 sq. ft. area consists of a 35-seat classroom with a smart board, movable desks for interactive learning, two laboratories, and five offices.
Renovations to both the new and older chemistry labs include the venting of the new lab and a chemical storage area. This first phase of renovation transforms the older lab into a new molecular and cell biology facility.
"During this academic year, and with Dr. Bowen's assistance, we acquired an estimated $90,000 worth of equipment and supplies for approximately $17,000," said Dr. Brad Reynolds, vice president for academic services.
"Dr. Bowen's commitment to Truett-McConnell and our students is evidenced in many ways, including the unassuming and persistent manner he has procured the equipment necessary to update our science lab. We are grateful for his tireless efforts and thank the Lord for his dedication."
Bowen, who is assistant professor of biology, helped procure equipment for cryogenic storage/histology preparation, water purification, centrifugation/dry baths/mixing/sample preparation, protein assay, and liquid handling.
"The renovated space will allow full utilization potential of all of the really great stuff," Bowen said. "And with the update to the laboratory facility, we will also have organized space for DNA and RNA electrophoresis equipment and assays, including regular PCR capabilities; incubators; fume hoods, including a walk-in fume hood; autoclaves; and additional liquid handling equipment, micro-pipettes," Bowen told TMCNews.
Purchase of advanced imaging capabilities, including ultraviolet, chemiluminescent, and fluorescent imaging of DNA, RNA, and protein, is budgeted, Bowen added.
"All told, the biology program's current holdings are valued at about $126,000," he said.
Bowen added that, as the program continues to develop he "looks forward to continued progress, facilities development, and funding that, by God's obvious hands, will enhance the opportunities offered to each student in our degree programs."
Truett-McConnell College will do "whatever is within our ability to expand the college experience for all of our students," said Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell. "We are dedicated to our students' academic and spiritual growth, and we are equally committed to preparing our campus for the future growth coming to this institution."
All campus upgrades are scheduled for completion by the fall.
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