Focus shifts for Exercise Science and Sport Pavilion

I'm delighted to report that a wonderful change to our campaign plans has resulted from the generosity of two Decatur families.

In May 2010, as part of the announcement of Millikin’s “Transform MU” capital campaign, plans were announced to build an addition to the north end of Griswold Physical Education Center. The addition was planned to house the academic programs related to the four majors within the exercise science and sport department.

Recently, the focus for those plans shifted from Griswold to West Towne Square near campus following discussions among Millikin and the Demirjian and Romano families. The families jointly own the West Towne facility, and offered to make a gift to Millikin in the form of a bargain sale gift.

As a result, Millikin has the opportunity to create and equip its exercise science and sport pavilion for $5.77 million, about $8 million less than the cost of building the Griswold addition. The space allocated for the pavilion in West Towne Square is 34,000 square feet and almost an exact fit to original architect plans for the Griswold construction, with a gain of 12,000 square feet over the previous plan. West Towne also currently houses Pipe Dreams, Millikin’s student-run theatre company, as well as the Student Programming and Entertainment Center (SPEC).

We are so grateful to the Demirjian and Romano families for this innovative gift and purchase plan that will allow us to better serve the nearly 200 students in this program who need the appropriate facilities and equipment to perform their learning in one of Millikin’s fastest growing programs. An additional benefit is that this provides an opportunity to leave the focus of Griswold strictly on athletics.

Key to the progress of the new facility is raising the total funding needed before the end of 2012. Toward that goal, our staff is working hard to get the word out, and to date, more than $2.4 million has already been donated. Naming opportunities range from various pieces of equipment starting as low as $100 up to $1.02 million for the large physical conditioning learning center on the first floor. Once complete funding is obtained, it will take approximately six months to make renovations to West Towne and open the new pavilion.

I hope you'll consider joining us in supporting this exciting project!

Giving Back. Moving Forward.
by Peg Luy '75, Vice President for Alumni & Development

Today was an exciting day in Millikin's history!

Today we announced the launch of the $85 million Transform MU capital campaign. It is a campaign that has the potential to transform the university that has transformed so many lives.

This campaign will revitalize the east side of Millikin's campus, as well as make significant advances in creating new student scholarships, increasing endowment and faculty development funds, and improving infrastructure.

Three campus buildings will be transformed by this campaign.  

1. Our Richards Treat University Center (RTUC) is long overdue for an upgrade. It was built in the late 1970s to serve a campus population half the size of today's student body. Architects have determined that it will actually be less expensive to rebuild than to renovate, and I am excited about the prospect of a new center that will be a welcoming front door for the campus and visitors.

2. Griswold Physical Education Center, which was completed in 1970, will gain a much-needed expansion to serve one of our fastest-growing departments: exercise science and sport. Nearly 200 majors will be served by this new facility.

3.  Another of the buildings we are hoping to re-energize with new life is the historic Old Gym, which hosted one of the first state basketball tournaments in Illinois. This building holds fond memories for many of our alumni, some of whom played basketball there themselves or ran the old running track that encircled the gym. Our theatre and dance department, which currently uses the Old Gym for storage and a dance studio, will find a new home to cherish for future generations of students in the renovated Old Gym and its accompanying expansion.

These building projects are just three of the most visible elements of a campaign that promises to further enhance our ability to provide a student educational experience that is truly transformational. Time and time again, our alumni tell us how their Millikin experiences have changed their lives by giving them the confidence to succeed, no matter what life may bring. It's an ever-constant reminder of how the work we do here helps our students go out and impact our world for the better -- for all of us!