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SMWC to expand campus through land purchase

News | 11.07.2018

President King and Sister Dawn stand together at the announcementSaint Mary-of-the-Woods College is expanding its 67-acre campus footprint in the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Historic district, the administration announced today.

A purchase agreement between the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and SMWC has been signed allowing the College to take ownership of some land it currently leases from the Sisters of Providence plus additional land and properties. The purchase, approximately 160 acres, includes properties along the Avenue, the athletic fields, the stables and pasture.

This land expansion positions the College for additional academic, athletic and event hosting opportunities. “These parcels give the College a way to grow into the future,” said President Dottie L. King, Ph.D. “It is clear to me that we have a growing institution, and we are more than sustaining this growth. This land gives us a way to plan for our future needs.”

President King speaking at the event in Sullivan Parlor
President King discusses plans for the growth of the college.

The College plans to use the land for amenities enhancing the student experience. While the leadership is still in the process of exploring specifics, portions could be used to add an equine event center, a new athletic complex with baseball, tennis and track and field, updated locker room and press box facilities as well as parking.

The land purchase includes the transfer of Woodland Inn and Corbe House, two historic buildings where some Sisters of Providence currently reside.  An agreement between the Sisters and the College states the Sisters can continue to utilize these properties for as long as they choose, King said. When the buildings are no longer used by the Sisters, the College will consider how to best utilize them which may include housing or academic programming.

“As sponsors of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, we see the sale of this property as a way to strengthen both the mission of the College and the Sisters of Providence,” said Sisters of Providence General Superior Dawn Tomaszewski, SP, ’74. “The College literally has new room on which to grow, and we have additional revenue to strengthen our own efforts to keep the

Rachel Leslie speaking at the event in Sullivan Parlor
Rachel Leslie’ 14G, partner with RJL Solutions, played a leading role in securing the USDA loan for SMWC.

Sisters of Providence and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods vibrant.”

“In fact, we believe this sale benefits all entities on the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods campus and will serve to unite our efforts to be a place where love dwells, where learning thrives and where hope and healing are offered to all who enter our gates.”

Earlier this year, SMWC was one of three Indiana projects which received funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Thanks to this federal program, SMWC is able to restructure its current debt over a 40-year period. The restructure allowed the College an additional opportunity to purchase available land from the Sisters of Providence. The program granted SMWC a $13,897,000 loan.

Sister Dawn speaking at the event in Sullivan Parlor
General Superior of the Sisters of Providence, Dawn Tomaszewski, SP, ’74 believes this partnership strengthens both entities.

“It has been a pleasure working with President King and her cabinet to help fulfill a vision of growth for the college. Through this partnership with the USDA, the college and community families will recognize new opportunities at a place so special to them,” said Rachel Leslie, RJL Solutions partner, who has worked on behalf of SMWC to secure and obtain the USDA grant.

President King and the Board of Trustees are grateful that the USDA and other partners have recognized the College’s impact on the local community, particularly the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Historic District and the town of West Terre Haute. King said SMWC’s eligibility for the program was due, in part, to its partnerships with rural neighbors and its initiatives to enhance quality of life in the area through such things as the Pomeroy Wellness Program and SMWC Health Clinic.

This funding is part of a $237 million investment by USDA in 119 rural community service facilities in 29 states. It provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. Other Indiana projects receiving funding are Pulaski County Memorial Hospital and Vermillion Parke Community Health Center.

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