Ferrum News

Major Gift Makes Possible Newest FerrumForward! Project


Major Gift Makes Possible Newest FerrumForward! Project

Dyer Hall, Hank Norton Athletic Center, Hart International Plaza among new campus additions.

Ferrum, Va. (March 17, 2011) Numerous building projects at Ferrum College, signifying the institution’s continuing growth and momentum, are underway this spring under the FerrumForward! umbrella.

The College began construction in late February on a new residence hall on the west side of campus, to be named in memory of the late Horace Dyer, a prominent Martinsville businessman, community leader, and former member of the Ferrum College Board of Trustees.  A generous gift from Dyer’s estate allowed the College to begin work on the 31,000 square foot residence hall.  The building will house 117 students and features a 1,000 square foot conference facility.  Dyer Hall, which is being built in partnership with Mod-U-Kraf of Rocky Mount, will be ready to house students for the fall semester, 2011.

Tom Dyer, Horace Dyer’s son, noted that “Ferrum College has meant a great deal to our family for many years – nothing would please my father more than to know that he was able to help carry on the College’s mission and help support its increasing enrollment through this new, much needed student living space.”

At the northeast end of the campus, progress continues on the $5.5 million Hank Norton Athletic Center.   Crews worked through the winter pouring the foundation and placing other infrastructure.   “Once the bulldozers arrived at the site last fall, we had a spike in donor participation that is still going strong,” said Kim Blair, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.   “We feel confident that we will reach our fundraising goal for this project.  When we celebrate the dedication in the spring of 2012 the Hank Norton Center will be a marquee facility of which our alumni will be very proud,” Blair said.  Athletic programs are also experiencing growth with the recent additions of men’s lacrosse, women’s swimming, and the hiring of new assistant coaches in women’s soccer and lacrosse. 

More FerrumForward! projects include Hart International Plaza, to be completed in time for commencement on May 7.  Named after Joseph T. Hart, Ferrum’s 8th president, the plaza is located in the center of campus, between Stanley Library and Garber Hall.  It promises to be a dramatic space for outdoor ceremonies and a focal point for visitors arriving to campus via Wiley Drive.  The Plaza was completely funded by private donations through the generosity of alumni, local businesses, friends of the College, and faculty and staff. 

hart Plaza

Validis Resources, managers of the campus bookstore, have facilitated a nearly complete $25,000 patio addition adjacent to the Bookstore’s News Café that will provide another campus gathering place.  An expanded Starbucks menu will feature items available for purchase.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held in late spring at the Blue Ridge Institute and Farm Museum for a $627,000 renovation and expansion.  Made possible by a federal grant appropriation, with the intention to increase tourism and enhance economic development in the region, the work will include a new classroom and additional exhibit and archival space.

Elsewhere on campus, a grant of $250,000 from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will allow the current weight room area in the Swartz Gymnasium to undergo renovation into three “smart” classrooms, equipped with the latest technology.  Construction will be completed in time for classes beginning in the fall of 2011.  A biomass boiler will soon be constructed near the maintenance buildings off Ferrum Mountain Road.  The boiler, made possible in large part through a donation of equipment and expertise by the parent of a Ferrum alumnus, will generate electricity and partial heat using renewable fuel such as waste wood and switch grass.

“We are blessed to be at a time in the history of the College when our devoted friends, generous business partners, loyal alumni and the community at large have all joined together in support of FerrumForward!,” said College President Jennifer Braaten. “The momentum and excitement on campus is at all time high.  I am thrilled for our students and honored to be a part of our success.”