WILSON, N.C. — With a new Master Plan Study now completed, Barton College is poised to begin the first phase of new development on campus that will begin to align the College’s physical environment with its expanding national recognition as an innovative center of academic quality.  The new project campaign, which has been in a silent phase for the past six months, was publicly shared first with Atlantic Christian and Barton College alumni during the weekend’s Homecoming festivities. Dr. Norval C. Kneten, president of Barton College, made the public announcement during the Alumni Awards Brunch on Saturday.

Barton’s national recognition continues to be reflected in top tier recognitions as a Best College in the Southeast by Princeton Review and as a Best Regional College in the South by U.S. News and World Report. Barton also continues to earn significant national praise for its graduates as among the best nationally in gains in reasoning and communication skills as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment.

Recognizing the need to match the College’s physical image with its growing national reputation, the College’s Board of Trustees voted enthusiastically last spring to begin the silent phase of the project campaign for the College’s West Entrance, a proposed gateway to the campus that will broaden campus attention and appeal to prospective students who are considering Barton College to continue their education and all who visit Wilson.  The overall project goal is estimated at $1.5 million with over $850,00 already having been raised through gifts and pledges. The College’s Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board have eagerly endorsed the project with significant gifts to date toward the new West Entrance.

As the lead project for Phase I of the College’s Master Plan, the new West Entrance will create an impressive statement of collegiate quality for the campus and community. The new West Entrance will open onto a dramatic vista of the campus highlighting the Centennial Alumni Bell Tower and the Campus Quad. In addition, the new entrance will provide a more scenic streetscape for this major artery of the city and will provide a safer traffic environment for students and citizens of Wilson.

The College is indebted to the city of Wilson and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, both of whom have been working closely with Barton on the proposed project to help address traffic concerns that have been noted by both College and City in recent years. During the construction of this project, the City and NCDOT will coordinate the reversion of the one-way traffic flow of Atlantic Christian College and Raleigh Road to Wilson’s original two-way traffic plan for these streets, a process that will create a significantly safer traffic environment for all on campus as well as those in the community traveling by vehicle, bicycle, or walking along these thoroughfares.

These safety concerns have been manifested in recent years by the volume of traffic and speeding on ACC Drive, a campus street that has developed into a major thoroughfare, as well as the frequency of accidents at the intersection of Nash Street and ACC Drive. The concerns have been repeatedly reported by students, parents, and neighbors as issues of safety.

In coordination with the City of Wilson and the NCDOT, the College anticipates work for this project to begin in summer 2012.  The campus entrance project will also include improvements to the interior of the campus leading to and including the Campus Quad, the heart of activity for Barton students.

A series of future projects stemming from the College’s Master Plan Study are anticipated to include a new academic building (yet to be defined) as well as the expansion and renovation of general use academic classroom buildings, expansion and renovation of the art and communication facilities, renovation and update of Howard Chapel, expansion of athletic facilities, renovation of Hackney Library, new science and nursing facilities, and the expansion and renovation of Hamlin Student Center.  A specific timeline for these future projects has not been determined.

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Questions? Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu