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SAU plans for future expansion

Southern Adventist University faculty and staff recently finished a master planning process that they hope will bring sweeping changes to the campus by 2020.

Some of those changes include a new student center, new residence hall, new facility for the School of Art and Design and a loop road around campus that diverts traffic away from University Drive.

“We are still in the planning phases and still planning on how we fundraise for these projects,” said Venita Sauder, SAU vice president of strategic initiatives. “Hopefully within the next year or two we will have final plans on how we lift that off the ground.”

She said most likely the residence hall or the new student center will be the first building priority.

“The residence hall is a very important component and it will have up to 300 beds,” said Sauder. “Enrollment grows every year. We’re up to 3,319 total students and we’re always adding apartments.”

A new student center that will be located between the plaza and the wellness center will also be a top priority as funding becomes available, she said.

“Our current student center was built for around 1,200 students,” said Sauder.

The new student center will ideally be implemented after or around the same time as the new loop road around campus that will begin at Apison Pike and end at University Drive.

“To get to the new student center, students will have to cross University Drive, and as more and more students cross that road, it will be less safe for them,” she said.

The overall planning process includes 16 initiatives that Sauder said range from a green initiative to a service learning component that is designed to get more students involved with the community outside of the university.

“All of our projects on the whole strategic plan have one goal and that is making students successful,” she said. “We’re a residential campus and we’re working on developing the whole person through learning, living, play and worship.”

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