Additions, renovations top Cumberland 2018 plans

Xavier Smith • Jan 11, 2018 at 5:29 PM

Cumberland University president Paul Stumb highlighted some initiatives and undertakings for the university this year, including an investment in current infrastructure and buildings, as well as immense planning for the future.

“I think [2017] was a really good year. Based on every possible metric, we had a good year – academically, financially, athletics. We had a good amount of growth,” Stumb said.

Stumb, who took over as president in 2015, said the university succeeded in three strategic areas – revenue, building and maintaining community relationships and improving infrastructure.


Campus renovations

“Maintaining this old campus is important,” said Stumb, who noted much of Cumberland’s campus was built in the 1800s.

Stumb said renovations on Memorial Hall and Baird Chapel, which started in 2017, would total more than $1 million and include new boilers and entrance. He said other renovations would take place in campus dormitories, Labry Hall, Vise Library and other facilities.

Stumb said renovations also extend to faculty, noting the university added 14 full-time professors and about 75 adjunct professors to keep up with a 50 percent enrollment jump in the last two years.

“The lion’s share of our students are coming from about a 40-mile radius,” said Stumb, who noted campus housing is at capacity despite a large number of commuter students.

The university has acquired several houses near the campus to accommodate students and continue to look at space for more dormitories.

“Our growth has presented us with some new, but exciting, challenges,” he said.

Athletic facilities

“About 500 – or 20 percent – of our undergraduate students are athletes. Athletes and athletics are a key component of our makeup. Just like these old buildings, a lot of our athletics facilities need some tender love and care,” Stumb said.

One major initiative the campus will undertake this year to support athletics is a fundraising campaign focused on athletic renovations. The drive is aimed to help three men’s and three women’s sports.

Stumb said the goal of the campaign is to replace Dallas Floyd Recreation Center seating and provide updates to the Phoenix softball and baseball facilities.

Stumb said the university would also add men’s volleyball and women’s lacrosse.

Science and nursing building

“We’re making significant improvements in our science labs this semester and summer. We got a very nice gift of $150,000 to upgrade the science labs We’re going to do that in their current positions in this building, but we’re doing it in a way that everything we’re putting in there – new benches, lab equipment, cabinetry – can be moved to our new science and nursing facility when we build that,” Stumb said.

He said university leaders are preparing for a science and nursing building campaign to launch in the next couple of years.

He said about 350 students – 15 percent of student population – major in nursing. He noted the university just acquired a new dean of nursing and about six nursing professors.

New main entrance

Stumb said the university recently completed architectural drawing and started civil engineering work for a new main campus entrance.

“We’re going to make the main entrance to Cumberland University off of West Spring Street,” Stumb said.

The entrance will feature about 30 parking spaces, a roundabout and green space, which will allow guests to quickly access several buildings on campus, including the Heydel Fine Arts Center, Memorial Hall and more.

Stumb said the entrance would feature signage proclaiming the campus as the McClain Campus and the university would relocate its World War II monument and gazebo to fit in the area.

Year of planning

Stumb said 2018 would be come to known as a year of planning for Cumberland University, setting up initiatives and changes that would serve the university for years to follow.

“We are, with the help of the board of trusts, updating our strategic plan. We are also doing a brand new campus master plan. We’re doing a new risk assessment plan, key employee succession plan, enrollment growth plan to try and project and forecast our enrollment growth and initial planning for a capital campaign for the science and nursing building.”


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