published: Monday, January 03, 2011
Walter Zielinski, Beacon College’s vice president for institutional advancement, poses with an architectural rendering of the college’s new campus in downtown Leesburg on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2010. Construction is slated to begin soon on the new, three-story facility that will replace a series of old homes and storefronts currently housing the school.
College begins expansion
LARRY ELL | Staff Writer
Building students’ futures is Beacon College’s legacy, but building a bigger campus through its Legacy Campaign will help the school expand its educational influence into the future.
The campaign designed to raise $10 million to build a new education building, new student housing and a new administration building kicked into gear Saturday. Beacon officials say the funds will enable them to nearly double the school’s enrollment from its current record of 145 students.
“We feel that we can comfortably grow to 250, possibly 300 students, and not compromise what has really differentiated us from so many other colleges and universities,” Beacon president Deborah Brodbeck said. “The delivery of our services is the cornerstone of what we do at Beacon College.”
Since Beacon opened in 1992 with only 12 students, the nation’s only four-year college exclusively for students with learning disabilities has experienced steady growth.
Such a clearly defined mission has attracted students from 28 states and three countries. Because of the nationwide and worldwide interest, the school has swelled to full capacity.
“We are maxed-out,” said Walt Zielinski, the vice president for Institutional Advancement. “We would like to help more students but we cannot fit a single more student into our housing, we have no room for classrooms and we don’t have room for faculty or administrative offices.”
According to Legacy Campaign literature, the new education building will cost between $4.5 and $5 million dollars. It will include an expanded library, the Robert and Jane Weiner Writing Center, academic mentor offices, a new technology center and student assembly space. The new student housing complex has a projected price tag of $3 million and the administration building will provide centralized office space for the school’s president and Academic Affairs, Institutional Advancement and Enrollment Management departments, along with meeting space for student organizations for a cost $1.7 million.
The money will be raised through a number of methods including donor gifts from $100 to $10,000 and opportunities to name various offices, rooms, courtyards and buildings. Donations for these naming rights start at $10,000 for a conference room and top out at $2.6 million for the right to name the education building.
Although the campaign thus far has been in what Zielinski called its “quiet phase,” the school has already raised $500,000 from local individuals and businesses in Leesburg and Lake County, which is enough to get the project off the drawing board.
He says groundbreaking for the administration building will probably begin in the spring. Then, once the campaign expands to also include a national donor base, the other two buildings will follow as the money becomes available.
Beacon officials acknowledge that the tough economy may affect their fundraising efforts, but they’re confident that there will be a build-up of enthusiasm, which will translate into generosity — especially when benefactors realize what their donations will help build.
“These students are marginalized and they’re underserved, but when they come to Beacon, they flourish,” Zielinski said. “When they leave, they become entrepreneurs, they become self-actualizing citizens, they get jobs and add to our economy.”
You can find the article here: http://www.dailycommercial.com/localnews/story/10311beaconlegacy