The Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has issued a $1 million challenge grant to Harding University toward three major renovation and construction projects on the Searcy campus. The total cost of the three projects is $6.5 million.
The Mabee Foundation board issued the challenge grant opportunity to Harding following its April 14 meeting.
The projects include the expansion and renovation of the Ganus Athletic Center ($4 million), expansion of Rhodes Field House ($2 million), and construction of the First Ladies Gardens, a scenic pedestrian corridor on the campus ($500,000).
To meet the provisions of the challenge grant, Harding must raise the remainder of the $5.5 million to complete the project by April 15, 2016. The university has already raised more than $4 million toward the $5.5 million goal.
“We are very excited about this challenge grant opportunity from the Mabee Foundation,” said President Bruce McLarty. “This certainly will be the pace-setting gift on these very important projects for the Harding community. The Mabee gift will ensure the projects will be completed as scheduled next year.”
Last renovated in the late 90s, the GAC is one of the most heavily used facilities on campus. Major additions to the facility will feature a suspended track on a new second-floor level to the gym; new gym floors, basketball goals and partitioning curtains; a two-story weight room; and a new swimming pool corridor, among others additions.
Renovations to Rhodes Field House will add 13,000 square feet to the facility — 2,000 square feet for the building’s new entrance and 11,000 square feet in the new practice facility and locker rooms. The new practice area will accommodate the University’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The First Ladies Gardens will be located between Shores and Stephens Halls and will honor the University’s first ladies. The space will feature five distinct gardens, a colonnade, a water fountain with a sculpture, a space for an outdoor classroom, and benches for seating throughout.
The Mabee Foundation has previously provided gifts and grants to Harding totaling more than $12 million. The two most recent gifts were a $1.7 million challenge grant toward the construction of an $8.5 million facility to house the Carr College of Nursing and the communication sciences and disorders department and a $1.1 million gift for the construction of the Farrar Health Sciences Center in 2008.
The largest gift made by the Foundation came in 1994 with a $2 million grant toward the construction of the McInteer Bible and World Missions Center.