President Alisa White unveiled a new vision for building and growth at APSU during a press conference held Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The university’s new vision is to grow substantially outwards across College Street over the next two decades, adding buildings, stores and possibly a new stadium to APSU.
The first step to completing the new vision is APSU’s recent purchase of the Jenkins and Wynne property located along both sides of College Street.
APSU Vice President of Finance and Administration Mitch Robinson announced the Jenkins and Wynne property would be transformed into parking for students, faculty and staff soon after the lots are transferred to APSU. The school then plans to examine the property to find a suitable long-term use for the land.
The Jenkins and Wynne Dealership allowed APSU to have the right of first refusal for the 11-acre property and the university ultimately paid $8.8 million for it according to Robinson. The lots house five buildings, which total about 90,000 square feet, and the majority of the property is used for car display. Robinson said he predicts the university will be able to take control of the buildings as soon as April or early May 2016.
Don Jenkins, CEO of Jenkins and Wynne, stated his reasons for negotiating with APSU.
“I think APSU has always been a jewel for Clarksville,” Jenkins said. “Part of having property in downtown is being a good steward of what you have, and the best use of the property would be for APSU to have it.”
At the press conference, White discussed the future growth of APSU and explained the conceptual art depicting new buildings along College Street.
“[The photos] describe what our aspirational vision is,” White said. “Now are we going to end up with something that looks like what exactly is on those pictures? No, because we have not gone through that master planning process yet.”
The main purpose for releasing the images is to inspire investors to put money towards the project.
Vice President for Advancement, Communication and Strategic Initiatives Derek Van Der Merwe and Executive Director of Giving and Advancement Kris Phillips will be in charge of the fundraising and investment efforts for the project.
The vision APSU revealed focuses on how different the university and student life will be by the time of the project’s completion. Students and the community would enjoy more integration with one another, blending the edges of the university with shopping, entertainment and food for the benefit of the community.
There is currently no defined long-term plan to direct the growth and the pictures presented at the conference are only placeholders.
APSU will need a year to update its current Campus Facilities Master Plan in order to incorporate future possibilities for the acquired property.
One possible use for the land is to convert one of the dealership buildings into a gallery to house APSU’s folk art collection. In a press release published by APSU, the collection is reported to “[include] 42 folk art carvings, paintings and drawings” in addition to “several sculptures by William Edmondson.”