COOKEVILLE – Tennessee Tech University has a new fundraising goal, and officials say they hope to raise $60 million by 2021.
Kevin Braswell, Tech’s vice president for advancement, called the total “ambitious,” although more than half — $33 million – has already been committed, including the Oakley farm, recently gifted by Millard and J.J. Oakley. University officials this week unveiled renderings for several new campus projects, including new fitness center, new science and technology building, a renovation to Jere Whitson Hall and potential lengthening of the Golden Eagle Golf Club, during an event called Tennessee Tech Tomorrow.
“Together, we can build classrooms, computer and simulation labs, and athletics facilities,” Braswell said. “We can build academic programs, a stronger faculty and scholarship support. With your help, we can build not only what we are able to, but also what we dream of.”
Tech set a single-year fundraising record in 2016 with $22 million in gifts and commitments, which included the Oakley farm and Golf Club. The Oakley farm increases Tennessee Tech’s campus by 1,400 acres; the university had been leasing the land, located in Overton County, since 2009 for agricultural studies. The donation is valued at more than $9 million.
As for the new projects, the science building, at a projected 150,000 square feet, will be the largest academic building on campus; it will house the chemistry department and a portion of the biology department with labs for earth sciences, physics and environmental sciences. The building will be located immediately north of the Capital Quad residence halls on the site of a current parking lot.
Gov. Bill Haslam announced $85.5 million in state and other funds for the new science building at Tech in early 2016 as part of his 2016-17 budget proposal.
The Fitness Center, slated for West Seventh and North Willow, will include state-of-the-art equipment, including a climbing wall, racquetball courts, gym courts for leagues and intramural play and an indoor leisure pool and whirlpool. It will stand twice as large as the current fitness center building.
Renovations to Jere Whitson Hall will transform it into a campus visitor and welcome center, as well as serve as a one-stop shop for students. The renovated space will include admissions, financial aid, advisement, academic services, records and registration and military and veteran affairs. Additionally, the Backdoor Playhouse will take up space in the entire basement.
And the Golden Eagle Golf Club, donated to the university by Lanny Dunn, is an 18-hole course. Improvements include potential property acquisitions to expand the footprint in order to host championship tournaments, as well as renovations to the club house and grounds.