WILSON, N.C. — Barton College preparations are well underway to welcome students and faculty back to campus following a busy summer break. The most obvious change for returning members of the campus community will be the College’s new West Entrance at the corner of Vance Street and Atlantic Christian College Drive.

“We are grateful to all the donors who made this transformation possible,” said Dr. Norval C. Kneten, president of Barton College.  “In addition to the physical changes, accomplished and planned, important changes are being made to our academic programs as well.  This coming year will be an exciting and busy time as we incorporate all these changes into the life of the College and plan for a promising future.”

“With construction of the new West Entrance and the paving of adjoining streets now completed, the next phase for the entrance will be the placement of planned brick crosswalks,” said Kris Lynch, vice president for administration and finance.  “Additional brick walls, along the opposite side of A.C.C. Drive, are on schedule for completion in the weeks ahead.  And, the Bridgestone Americas Campus Gateway signature wall, to be located on the corner of Nash Street and A.C.C. Drive at the Barton-Graves House, will complete the construction portion of the entrance project.”

The brick walkway, circling the Centennial Alumni Bell Tower and bordering the side of Harper Hall up to Hardy Alumni Hall, was replaced over the summer, and the Hackney Library parking lot was repaved. Landscaping for the West Entrance is planned for fall with cooler temperatures better supporting the planting of grass, shrubbery, and trees. A Homecoming dedication of the new West Entrance is planned for October 25.

With the completion of the new West Entrance, the Stone Creek Masonry, Inc. team, based in Sims, will soon transfer its focus to Center Campus to begin construction of the proposed Aileen and Bill Parish Plaza, recognized as Phase I of the Howard Chapel Renovation Project. Plaza construction is expected to begin later this fall.

Also on the fall horizon is the renovation of Hackney Hall, a late-1960s era residence hall facing A.C.C. Drive. “Dunn and Dalton Architects of Kinston and Rehab Builders, Inc. of Winston-Salem will oversee the renovation work, scheduled to begin early fall,” Lynch continued. “Highly recommended by the city of Wilson, Rehab Builders also supervised the work of the Nash Street Lofts in downtown Wilson.”

Advanced reservation registration for Hackney Hall by Barton students will be available through the Office of Residence Life beginning early spring semester 2015. The renovated residence hall is scheduled to open fall 2015. Three additional older residence halls on campus also have been evaluated for renovation, with initial costs and drawings proposed to the Board of Trustees for consideration.

The College continues to move forward with technology upgrades on the heels of last year’s installation of wireless technology for the exterior campus. This fall, the campus will complete wireless upgrades for all remaining academic and administrative buildings. Additional academic technology upgrades will include 10 ceiling-mounted projectors to support classroom laptop and tablet presentations to complement last year’s installation of an initial eight projectors.

Barton also celebrates the summer approval by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of the College’s two newest master degrees programs. New cohorts of students will enroll this fall in Barton’s Master of School Administration (MSA) and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs.

“The MSA degree has been requested by Barton education graduates for a number of years and provides a logical progression for expanding Barton’s master degree programs, given the increasing interest and need for well-prepared administrative leaders in education,” shared Dr. Jackie S. Ennis, dean of the School of Education.  Barton’s Master of School Administration program prepares educators to earn a North Carolina Principal’s license, which, in turn, will provide a foundation for cultivating a positive educational environment for teachers and students and influencing academic success. And, through action-based research conducted throughout the master’s program, graduate students will be turning theory into practice.

The Master of Science in Nursing degree is intentionally designed to prepare current Bachelor degree nurses for current and evolving roles in nursing education and clinical leadership. “Designed to be completed within two years of full-time study, Barton’s MSN program deliberately builds on the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree,” explained Dr. Sharon I. Sarvey, dean of the School of Nursing. “The program offers two concentrations to prepare graduate students for either education of future nursing professionals or administration within the nursing and healthcare professions across the country. And, we are extremely excited about the direct impact this graduate program will have on future healthcare in our local and regional communities.”

Echoing the importance of preparing administrators and educational leaders in these two professional fields, Dr. Gary Daynes, provost and vice president for academic affairs, noted, “Few disciplines are more important for the well-being of our communities than Education and Nursing. Our new graduate programs build on Barton’s tradition of excellence in those fields. Barton’s graduates have always been leaders in their homes, workplaces, and communities. We are proud to build on that tradition as well, and, by so doing, strengthen the schools and medical facilities that make North Carolina a great place to live.”

The 2014-2015 academic year for Barton College will officially begin on Monday, Aug. 18, with the welcome of new and returning faculty who will join staff and administration for a week of meetings as the school year gets underway. New students will return later the same week for the third of three summer orientation sessions scheduled for freshmen. New students will participate in “Bulldog Day” and “New Student Welcome” activities throughout the weekend, culminating with the annual “Naming and Induction” ceremony on Sunday evening, Aug. 24, followed by a reception in their honor hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Norval C. Kneten at the Barton-Graves House.

On Monday, Aug. 25, the entire campus community will look forward to the annual “Welcome Back Barton Day” event co-sponsored by the Wilson Chamber of Commerce and Barton College, following the students’ first day of classes.

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