The UALR Benton Center will begin a major facelift to the existing building and grounds this summer as its advisory board closes in on a three-year capital campaign goal of $450,000.
“Fundraising is progressing right on schedule,” said new Advisory Board Chair John Young.
“At this point, contributions, pledges and commitments total $315,000. Support has come from all over Saline County, with support from businesses, organizations and individuals. Annual pledges range from $100 to $10,000.”
The UALR Benton Center Fund was established for the support, maintenance and promotion of the Benton Center, and is the mechanism for Saline County residents to invest in the future of higher education in their county.
Young said support from UALR’s main campus has never been stronger, with an annual budget that has grown more than 15 percent in the last two years and university improvements totalling more than $500,000.
“When this project started two and a half years ago, we were overwhelmed with the initial support for growing and building our local university campus. We’re pleased to report that phase one is almost complete, and we will begin updating our current building as we make plans for our exciting future,” Young said.
Planning is also underway to make functional changes to the existing facility that will promote student life until a new facility can be built.
The Benton Center is also working with the Office of Alumni and Development to more effectively engage alumni living in Saline County, with a goal of creating a Saline County Alumni Chapter.
“Our goal for a new, expanded building hasn’t changed. However, until that time we need to meet our current students’ needs, and I believe we are on the right path to do it,” Young added.