Purchase Image Students at Lane College cross Lane Avenue between classes Monday morning. The college is planning an expansion that will include two residential halls for the growing student body, a general classroom building, recreational building and a parking lot near Lane Field. / KENNETH CUMMINGS/The Jackson SunTwitterFacebookShare
Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Facebook Twitter Newsvine Buzz up!FarkIt EmailPrintAAA
TCHESHIER@JACKSONSUN.COM Filed Under
Lane College junior Raven Wiseman said the campus where she began as a freshman three years ago is constantly changing.
"The campus has a different look," said Wiseman, 20. "I feel like we're growing, and it makes me proud that we can compete with the other schools."
Officials are planning expansion of Lane's physical campus to keep pace with the college's growing student enrollment.
In 2007, the college's enrollment was 1,420 students. Since then, it has increased by about 700 students to 2,170 students enrolled last fall, according to college officials. The college's projected enrollment for fall 2011 is 2,150 to 2,250 students.
In the works are plans to build two additional residential halls, which will accommodate 258 students.
Under Lane's Master Plan 2010-15, the college also will build two nonresidential facilities — a general classroom building and recreational building, which will be surrounded by a community park.
Last year, the college acquired and demolished the former Adams Hall, which is across the street from Lane Field, where the college's sporting events are held, on North Hays Avenue. The college is developing the vacant lot into a parking lot, which officials expect to be complete by Sept. 1, and also will include a community park. Future plans will include placing an amphitheater-like enclosure on the property.
Adams Hall was formerly a part of Union University, which moved its campus from East Jackson to its current site in North Jackson in 1975, according to Union spokesman Tim Ellsworth.
Adams Hall later was renamed The Village, which housed a coalition of East Jackson nonprofit agencies, according to Jackson Sun archives. In 2002, the building was renamed after community activist Jo Helen Imani Beard, who died earlier that year.
In the years that followed, the building began to deteriorate and was vacated by the nonprofit agencies.
The city's housing codes department and architects declared the building to be in poor condition and beyond repair.
Lane acquired the building in August 2010 and received approval in September from the Historical Zoning Commission to demolish it. The building was torn down in October.
Changes to the site will cost $100,000, which was raised through funds given by alumni, friends and supporters. The additional space will accommodate vehicles during games and allow vendors an area to reach patrons.
Lane College President Wesley McClure said in a written statement that expansion is a part of the historically black private college's plan to reach students who don't believe attending college is within their reach.
"The challenges of Jackson and Madison County reside primarily in East Jackson," McClure said. "We understand that some of our students will get into trouble and bring embarrassment to our community. Lane College would like to play a major role in turning our black youth away from their present course — which is 'our course.'"
McClure said reaching out to black youth is part of the school's mission.
"What we have been able to do is convince the East Jackson, Greater Jackson and West Tennessee communities that continuous enrollment is within our reach — even with the pressures of our day," he said. "What is key here is that our primary focus remains on serving real people. We simply don't believe that online education is the best way to prepare and socialize many who want to get a college education."
The goal of the campus master plan is raise $5 million to support the expansion projects.
Lane officials declined to release how much the college has raised so far.
"We are close enough to be optimistic about our achieving the goal," McClure said. "A significant part of the plan focuses on the acquisition of some remaining vacant property."
McClure said there is space on the current campus and adjacent properties, which are partially owned by the college, that will be included in the college's expansion plan.
"We plan to build these buildings between 2011-2015," he